These only have a shot at becoming a real challenger to both digital and traditional publishers if they crack the code on the best way to integrate guest reviews and real-world updates into quality destination information.
Airbnb announced the launch of two new products at a press conference today, which seem to be the first steps towards a focus on destination reviews and a new challenge to everyone from Yelp to Lonely Planet.
Airbnb Neighborhoods allows potential bookers to filter through neighborhoods by shopping, dining, night life, and ease to move around the city. The company began to work on the new feature after finding that location was the top priority for guests when looking for a host in a new city.
Airbnb users can use a combination of the filters to find a neighborhood that suits their interests. Neighboorhoods will be displayed with a photo, a description sentence, and several identifying tags. It was also display a map that shows the distance to major landmarks and a long stream of large photographs featuring local people, architecture, and events. There were 70 photographers added to the Airbnb staff to capture the cities in an “honest light.”
Airbnb stamps its approval on SF coffee shops
Airbnb also announced its first Local Lounges in ten San Francisco neighborhoods. The lounges are actually coffee shops that were vetted for Internet access, long hours, and an atmosphere typical of the surrounding neighborhood. A Local Lounge sticker will be located in the window of each shop and arriving guests can visit the coffee shop for a free guide of the city. Co-founder Brian Chesky described plans to expand the Local Lounges to cities wherever there is an Airbnb host.
These announcements come as an a natural extension to the Airbnb Local Lists that curated hosts’ favorite local businesses into a free guide for guests. The “Best of” lists were separated by neighborhood and will likely serve as at least the first iteration of an Airbnb guide available in Local Lounges.
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Photo credit: An example of a search on Airbnb Neighborhoods. Airbnb.com