Airbnb has taken a progressive view of the future of work by recognizing that going forward many of us will continue to have the option to work from anywhere. They have officially acknowledged that much of the workforce will have the option to become digital nomads, even if only part of the year. In response, they have made several updates for 2022 that will improve the experiences of remote workers and digital nomads who travel and stay in their properties. Let’s break down each feature and why it is exciting for digital nomads.
Since its introduction in May 2021, guests have used the “I’m flexible” feature more than 517,000,000 times. With this feature, you can search up to 12 months in advance for weekend, week-long, or monthly stays and generate an eclectic list of available properties around the world. You can then use the traditional filters like type of place, bedrooms, price, and amenities to narrow in on the perfect stay.
This is great for adventurous digital nomads and location-independent remote workers who want to find longer stays but still remain flexible about their next destination. This feature makes it exceptionally easy to flexibly continue your travels within the same continent. I used this feature to inspire the next location after a stay in Argentina. I was contemplating Uruguay or Chile as the next stop, so I used this feature to get suggestions without having to be precise about the destination or dates. I found the perfect modern cabin on a lake in central Chile within my price range that I might never have found otherwise.
Unfortunately, this feature is limited by stay length. You can’t generate a list of properties for more than a one-month long stay without choosing specific dates. Alternatively, you can still choose specific dates for durations longer than a month and receive a flexible list of properties around the world available for that time period. I have found that trying to find a single place that is available for more than one month is quite difficult and greatly limits the options, especially when searching popular destinations. It is often easier and more fruitful to search for monthly stays and plan to change properties on a monthly basis, especially if you are only staying in Airbnbs.
More unique stays
For those who want something different for their next destination, there are now more search options to find unusual properties. You can now filter by and explore ski-in/ski-out, off the grid homes, luxe (extraordinary homes with 5-star service), offbeat (stay in a house shaped like a shoe, UFO, snake, etc) as well as cabins, beachfront, castles, tiny homes, farms, places with amazing pools, shipping containers, earth homes, domes, treehouses, Cycladic homes, mansions, islands, barns, in a desert, campers, houseboats, Kezhan, boats, trulli, ryokans, yurts, A-frames, and entire islands.
For the traveling remote worker or digital nomad who wants to mix things up, the option to filter unique stays helps Airbnb stand out amongst the competition. Remote workers who spend the majority of their time working from home and want to travel and work remotely for a mental break from their routine will be especially pleased with this feature. This feature is best if you don’t have a specific location in mind.
There are still some glitches and inaccuracies since hosts self-label their property type and you will find that a number of properties are incorrectly identified with these unique labels. For example, I filtered Colorado stays and chose “dammuso,” an Italian stone-walled home with a cubic base and dome-shaped roof, and I found a traditional American manufacturer-built home labeled as a dammuso. Because of their rarity, unique stays do seem to be on the pricier side making them less attractive to digital nomads on a budget, though some exceptions are there if you search hard enough.
Searching for hosts offering best quality and value
Airbnb says they have improved their search ranking system to better showcase hosts with great quality and value. They say these better properties will now be at the top of the generated search list. It is hard to judge the accuracy of this update. I still recommend evaluating each property individually and learning how to protect yourself from inaccuracies and scams.
Listing and review translation
The website and app now use new translation software that automatically translates listings and reviews to your native language. This will allow digital nomads to read every review and listing, giving them more confidence in booking properties in places where hosts may not speak English or where reviews tend to be in the local language.
Verify WiFi speed
Knowing the available WiFi speed is often crucial for digital nomads and remote workers. Slow WiFi speeds may necessitate finding a coworking space or other location to work. Hosts can now test and verify the speed of their WiFi within the app and directly add it to the listing.
Search by accessibility features
Airbnb has added a new accessibility review where you can filter by thirteen accessibility features. There are also now dedicated personnel reviewing the accuracy of listings reporting these accessibility features. The features listed include steps leading up to and inside the property, grab bars, wide doors both inside and at entrances, accessible parking spots, and shower features.
Digital nomads with disabilities will be able to accurately assess if properties meet their needs. Although we do not have disabilities, we do prefer properties with step-free paths when we bring our travel sports gear (which can weigh 50lbs). We plan to use this feature regularly when screening properties for our future stays.
There is now a more intuitive tab with a countdown to your check-in. The check-in info now also appears with your reservation details. Both of these updates will make it easier to manage and keep track of booking details, especially when you have multiple bookings scheduled.
Local Airbnb Experiences
If you are interested in Airbnb Experiences at your next destination you can find inspiration with a new experience highlights video reel. Instead of just photos, they will offer video clips of experiences to help you choose between the options. The map will also highlight experiences tagged by type such as food, outdoors, etc. Experiences can also be suggested for you based on who is traveling with you and where you’ll be. Airbnb Experiences can be a great way to meet locals, especially when you are traveling alone, and these new features will help digital nomads find just the right match.
With this new update, hosts can choose to offer lower cleaning fees for one and two-night stays. While digital nomads tend not to stay for just one or two nights, you may sometimes find yourself between properties or locations and this update may bring down the cost of one to two night stays.
New listings on Airbnb can now offer a special promotional discount as they try to boost guest bookings and reviews. Without reviews to rely on, you’ll want to make sure to educate yourself on how to avoid scams.
For digital nomads who travel with their pets, this final Airbnb update is rather exciting. Airbnb is encouraging hosts to allow pets by offering free pet damage protection to hosts. Here’s hoping that more hosts will feel comfortable allowing furry family members to travel with us! Pet fees can now also be added to nightly prices. Previously hosts would ask for cash, bank transfer, etc. on arrival but now all transactions can be kept within the app, increasing security for guests.
With the Winter 2021 updates, Airbnb continues to innovate and improve the guest experience. With the pandemic forever changing how many of us live and work, Airbnb is boldly keeping step with the times. The latest features will help digital nomads search for and book their next stay with the confidence that their new temporary home will match their expectations.