I just returned from New York City where Airbnb held a press conference focused on its 2023 Winter Release. (Full disclosure: They paid for my travel and one night hotel.) What was such a big deal about the announcement is that they have several new features that make it easier to connect guests with the perfect host. RELATED: 10 Best Airbnb Rentals in New York City

Specifically, travelers can now utilize the Guest Favorites feature to find the best Airbnb locations worldwide. The homestay platform is also revamping its ratings and reviews tools along with introducing a Listings tab to display more property details.

Airbnb Guest Favorites

The Guest Favorites feature highlights 2 million of the platform’s 7 million global listings. The favorite properties are based on the highest ratings, reviews, and reliability. Eligible properties carry a distinct badge in a destination’s search results.

It’s also possible for you to filter the search results only to show Guest Favorites properties.

The typical favorite has a minimum rating of 4.9 stars and 1% on average regarding quality-related customer service issues and Host cancellations. Nearly two-thirds of Guest Favorites are run by Superhosts. These hosts are known for usually exceeding a guest’s expectations.

“People often describe checking into an Airbnb as a ‘moment of truth’— when you find out if the home you booked meets your expectations,” says Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and CEO. “Too often, it doesn’t. We’re changing that today. With Guest Favorites, revamped reviews, and the new Listings tab, you’ll now know exactly what to expect every time you book.”

Many people discovered the benefits and flexibility that come with staying at Airbnb properties during the pandemic. It’s significantly easier to social distance, maintain privacy, and have your own kitchen and recreational amenities at an Airbnb than at a traditional hotel.

However, there was an accompanying surge of new hosts whose property listings and amenities didn’t necessarily leave a satisfactory experience for guests. In turn, these curious travelers resorted back to hotels for a consistent experience.

Overhauling Airbnb Ratings and Reviews

Did you know there are more than 371 million Airbnb guest reviews? Sifting through positive and negative reviews can be time-consuming and clutter some as you’re comparing multiple properties to stay at.

Now, guests can sort reviews by recency or rating. Each listing also includes a chart listing the distribution of reviews from 1 to 5 stars.

You may also like this personalization factor. Guest reviews will start tracking more trip details, such as the length of stay, where the traveler comes from, and the travel group size and age. For example, you can see if the reviewer stayed with family, in a group, brought pets, or a combination of these factors.

Airbnb Listings Tab

Airbnb hosts can easily add details to their listings, such as amenities and sleeping arrangements. Thanks to an updated interface, it’s easier to edit the arrival guide that guests receive before check-in.

There are two other tech-friendly innovations that can help hosts and guests:

  • AI-powered photo tour: Hosts can create a photo tour by organizing photos by room so guests can understand the home layout quickly. These photo tours are powered by a custom-built Airbnb AI engine. It’s possible to edit the tour and add room-specific amenities anytime. It’s pretty amazing where all a host has to do is upload their photos and Airbnb’s AI trained technology knows what room/detail it should be labeled. 
  • Smart lock integration: For added guest security and peace of mind, hosts can issue stay-specific entry codes that automatically generate for each reservation with compatible smart locks. Guests can view the unlock code directly from the Airbnb app before checking in. Hands-on support for certain locks from Schlage, August, and Yale arrives to the US and Canada in late 2023. Brian demonstrated how it worked and it’s super easy for everyone to manage. 

New Host Pricing Features

A growing number of loyal Airbnb guests have been complaining about more expensive fees that can make short stays challenging to afford. The platform is redesigning its host dashboard which offers transparent pricing.

Some of the new pricing tools available to hosts include:

  • Compare prices: It’s now possible for hosts to track local pricing trends for similar listings in the calendar. This feature makes it easier to stay competitively priced to optimize income while procuring more guests.
  • Pricing visibility: Hosts can see how much guests will pay for the nightly rate plus service fees.

Final Thoughts

The Guest Favorites collection showcases 2 million of the best Airbnb locations. As the platform has grown to have more hosts and guests, the travel experience can vary widely between properties. This filter, plus the revamped review filters and amenity listing tools make it easier for guests to have a great stay and for high-performing hosts to receive recognition for their hard work. Seems like a win-win for everyone. 

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