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Airbnb boosts search features ahead of expected travel rebound

Airbnb on a smartphone.

With coronavirus vaccination programs allowing travel to open up in some parts of the world, Airbnb is rolling out a bunch of handy new features to help improve the search experience on its website and app.

The web-based accommodation and travel service said flexibility is central to the changes, which introduce three new ways to perform searches using its online tools.

First off, Flexible Dates will make it easier to find the best places to stay if you’re not too fixed on when you want to travel. It means that, rather than inputting a particular date, you can now search for a weekend getaway, a weeklong trip, and a monthlong stay, with Airbnb providing suggested dates alongside its accommodation listings.

Next up is Flexible Matching, which surfaces selections just outside your search parameters. It means that if you search for a place with a limit of, say, $200 a night, the results will also show places just above this boundary. This could prove useful if there are few appealing options in your selected range and you’re able to fork out a little more for a pricier option — though it might mean going for a few cheaper meals to pay for it.

Airbnb is also launching Flexible Destinations. This offers a new way to surface more offbeat accommodations when finding a unique place to stay is more important than the destination itself. This option, Airbnb says, “helps you discover incredible properties in places you might not have thought to search for and adapts to your location,” adding, “From adobe houses to wagons, Airbnb has over 170,000 one-of-a-kind properties to choose from.”

Other upgrades include new search filters geared toward the season or location that help travelers find properties near particular points of interest such as national parks, “or with very specific attributes such as whether the property has an ocean view or whether a fireplace is gas or wood-burning,” the company said.

It’s also introducing a faster checkout process for guests, a helpful arrival guide, and a set of refreshed cancellation policies designed to “increase clarity for both guests and hosts.”

Airbnb said that, with some parts of the world now apparently moving on from the worst of the pandemic, it’s anticipating an “unprecedented travel rebound” involving people itching to get away for a break.

Commenting on the changes, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said, “The lines between travel, living, and working are blurring and we are upgrading our service to make it easier for people to integrate travel into their lives.”

Yet to dip your toe into the world of Airbnb? Whether you’re a traveler or a potential host, Digital Trends has you covered.

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