Airbnb unveils new hotel-like Airbnb Plus

ImageA home in Austin Tex. listed on Airbnb

The company said in a statement that Plus is for guests "looking for handsome homes, exceptional hosts and added peace of mind".

The announcement comes at a time when Airbnb, much like other "sharing economy" firms such as Uber, faces legal challenges in cities including New York, San Francisco, London and Berlin.

Airbnb was initially designed mainly for solo travel but over the years, millions of people have found the platform suited to a range of different types of travel, whether that be families who want extra space and a place to cook, to adventurers who are looking for somewhere to stay off the beaten track.

While a few hotels and bed-and-breakfasts have already listed their properties on Airbnb, going ahead, they will officially become part of the properties listed on the platform.

The company on Thursday introduced two new tiers - Plus and Beyond - as well as four new property types - Vacation Home, Unique Space, B&B, and Boutique - all of which promise to make it easier to find the type of travel accommodations you're after.

Currently, Airbnb offers 3 property types - shared spaces, private room and entire home.

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For example, its hometown of San Francisco put strict rules in place for short-term rentals this year to deal with what the city said were too many rental units being turned into hotel in an area in the midst of a severe housing crisis. "All Airbnb Plus homes are visited in person to ensure comfort, consistency, and design". This will give greater choice of accommodation options to guests, provide greater transparency over the types of accommodation available, and help hosts better showcase what's unique about them to better match with guests' preferences.

But Chesky quelled those rumors earlier this month, saying would-be investors will have to wait at least a year until they can get their hands on a piece of the company.

Company said that its hosts have earned over $41 billion over the last 10 years, while it has served guests over 300 million times. Following the acquisition of Luxury Retreats past year, Beyond by Airbnb will offer custom-designed trips that include "the world's finest homes, custom experiences and world-class hospitality", said Airbnb.

It will offer high-end properties, including optional concierge services, when it launches in spring.

The company is also providing Airbnb Plus for properties that have been inspected and verified for quality against a 100+ point checklist covering cleanliness, comfort and design such as fully equipped kitchens. "Groups that provide mass-produced hospitality, who don't offer belonging, who don't' care about what we care about - they don't meet our standards, and they find somewhere else to do their business".

Airbnb also unveiled a "collections" categories that will offer venues for occasions ranging from work to weddings. Previously, Airbnb did not feature hotels on the platform.

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