Today at a press event in San Francisco, travel startup Airbnb announced Airbnb Neighborhoods, a guide to help travelers decide which neighborhood best matches their interests and vacation style. Deemed “the definitive guide to experiencing neighborhoods” by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, users can click on different tags relating to the cities to help better acquaint them with local neighborhoods; in London, for example, you can click on “museums” and it will pull up the neighborhoods and rentals closest to museums.
“[Travelers] are overwhelmed with choices and these choices are vastly different,” said Mr. Chesky. ”We’ve polled our users and they’ve told us that location is the most important criteria for them when booking. So we have a problem: location is the most important criteria for travelers. When they come to a city, they have thousands of choices in all different neighborhoods and they’re overwhelmed.”
Airbnb Neighborhoods is available for 300 neighborhoods across 7 cities. Each neighborhood page will have its own map–charted by an Airbnb cartographer–as well as searchable tags appended by locals that will help you better discover hidden gems. Neighborhoods also have a beautiful layout with photos of the neighborhood and the people who live there. The new feature is built on user research about what kind of things matter to people as they’re deciding on a location, including shopping, dining, nightlife and transportation.
The company also announced Airbnb Local Lounge, designated spots that are vetted by Airbnb and can serve as a beacon for Airbnb travelers. Each location will have a free crowdsourced neighborhood guide, and serve as a “warm, inviting” place for travelers looking for a local connection.
These new features help establish Airbnb as a travel suggestion company, not just a place for rental bookings. Plus, having Local Lounges interspersed around a city that provide helpful guidance to users could help encourage those who haven’t yet tried Airbnb to finally make the leap.
“Neighborhoods are the original communities. They are the keys to unlocking local culture and one-of-a-kind experiences,” Mr. Chesky said in a release. “By going deeper and tapping into local knowledge, we are introducing our community to a neighborhood’s personality so they can match it with their own.”