Airbnb rolled out a new “split-stay” booking feature in May in response to consumers’ shifting demand for post-pandemic travel. Will Airbnb’s new booking feature become a game-changer in the lodging industry?
How does Airbnb’s new split-stay feature work?
Airbnb will allow travelers planning a trip of one week or longer to divide their stays between two different homes (Pohle, 2022). This new feature is particularly useful when a home has limited availability for one long-term stay or when a traveler wants to try different homes during one stay. Using such a new feature, travelers will generally see about 40% more listings in a search.
Why is there a need for such a new booking option?
Airbnb took the lead in responding to the evolving travel behaviors. For example, flexible work promotes the “bleisure” (business + leisure) trend in the workforce, where travelers blend work with vacation for a longer stay. Then, the work-from-home or work-from-anywhere trend enables people to travel for a longer period.
In the first quarter of 2022, almost 50% of Airbnb bookings were for a stay of one week or longer. Moreover, 21% of Airbnb bookings were for 28 days or more, down from 24% in the same period a year earlier but still above the pre-pandemic levels. Not every Airbnb listing is available for an extended period. Airbnb’s new feature will enable the company to provide more options for travelers and eventually capture more business.
Should hotels follow suit?
Besides Airbnb, some travelers also turn to extended-stay hotels for long-term accommodation needs. Hotel chains like Marriott and Hyatt have already included selected homes and villas in their home-sharing arm of the business. There is no reason why hotels should avoid trying Airbnb’s new booking option in their own operations. It will be nice for travelers to set a premise for their split-stay stay in an area for different purposes on a hotel website, such as to restrict the types of rooms (e.g., suites) or find the lowest rate available with the optimal combinations of hotel stays.
What do you think of the split-stay booking options for hotels? Will travelers want that?