Airbnb Announces Neighborhoods, A Local Guide

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

Photo: Owen Thomas, Business Insider

Airbnb has gathered a bunch of tech reporters to Dogpatch Studios, an arts space in a postindustrial part of San Francisco, to unveil a new product: Airbnb Neighborhoods.”We have a challenge,” says Brian Chesky, CEO of the online lodging marketplace. For visitors, location is the most important criterion, he explains. But Airbnb’s current service overwhelms them with choices. London, for example, has nearly 14,000 places to stay.

The guide rates neighborhoods on the quality of restaurants, ease of transportation, and other factors.

The company interviewed hosts and guests, and even flew teams of neighbourhood experts from locations like Rio de Janeiro to Airbnb headquarters to develop the content.

Airbnb, which already spends considerable sums on professional photography of its hosts’ houses and apartments, took 40,000 neighbourhood photos of the cities where it operates, a product manager said.

Airbnb is also designating coffee shops in neighborhoods as “Airbnb Local Lounges,” where they can pick up printed guides to the neighorhood. It’s a pilot project currently limited to San Francisco.

Both efforts suggest Airbnb is trying to strengthen ties to local businesses.

These moves obviously puts Airbnb in competition—or makes it less dependent on—sources like Yelp and Google’s Zagat for information about local businesses near where their guests stay.

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