Airbnb introduces Wish Lists for vacation planning fantasies

Admittedly, despite the horror stories, Airbnb is still one of my personal first choice when it comes to finding accommodations in various cities. It allows you to visit smaller cities with low hotel options, earn the privacy of an entire apartment, or receive friendly guidance from a host who’s there to help you around their part of town. 

Still, you naturally wouldn’t hit up Airbnb unless you already have a vacation starting to plan out. The short-term home rental startup wants to change that by allowing users to now bookmark their favorite Airbnb spots on Wish Lists to help plan their next getaways. With Wish Lists, users can get a stream of curated homes from Web figures such as Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, or Susan Gregg Koger, founder of online clothing retailer ModCloth. Alternatively, users can also select their own listings depending on what they come across in a random search. These Wish Lists can be titled for the occasion, such as Honeymoon, Bachelorette Party, Summer Vacation, Asia 2013, or Weekend Getaway.

Brian Chesky, co-founder and chief executive of Airbnb, said this additional feature happened somewhat accidentally, reports New York Times’ Bits blog. “We had these ‘stars’ on the site to save places, and we changed them to a ‘heart’ icon as an experiment,” Chesky told Bits, adding that only one percent of users experienced the heart icons. “We quickly realized that people were saving these properties in a way that they hadn’t with the star icon, and that the amount of time they spent on the site went up dramatically.”

The ability to add listings under a Wish List dramatically helps with finding that home again when the time for vacation arrives. You may often find a spot you like but see it disappear when you come back to reserve it because it’s either been booked or the price range changed. With all your listings under a certain Wish List, you can always keep track of the spot to ensure your desired accommodation doesn’t get swept away under your watch. The beauty of Airbnb is also static nightly rate no matter how late in the game you book (of course, depending on the response rate of the host).

Users can also share their Wish Lists, like a bride-to-be might with her bridesmaids with the Bachelorette Party list. You can also round up a few accommodation recommendations for your wedding guests if you’re heading for a destination wedding with hotels getting quickly booked. The redesign makes Airbnb become more of a travel fantasy site than ever, despite the legal challenges the concept faces. We’ll see how the company plans to address such issue.

In the mean time, watch the video below to see how you might make use of Airbnb Wish Lists.

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