Airbnb wants you to bunk with strangers again

These days, it’s easy to find yourself in the midst of planning your dream vacation only to *checks bank account* realize, you know what, a weekend camping trip is actually just fine. 

Driving the news: The average cost of an Airbnb jumped 36% during the pandemic, a looming problem that the company has responded to by launching a Rooms category that features over 1 million private bedrooms worldwide, with an average rate of $91 a night. 

  • An analysis of short-term rental and hotel prices in Toronto by The Globe and Mail last year showed that Airbnbs in Toronto had gotten almost as expensive as hotels.

You might remember that Airbnb started out by renting spare rooms, but the platform has evolved into far more profitable offerings, like $7,000-a-night villas in Mykonos. “This really goes back to the founding story,” Airbnb Co-Founder Nathan Blecharczyk, told The Peak.

  • “We think we’re going to see a resurgence in this category, both because the pandemic is over, but because people are thinking twice about their budget,” he said. 

Why it matters: With the current state of the economy (bad) and travel (expensive), we’re all looking to snag a deal. The change at Airbnb is likely a sign of what’s to come in the travel industry: new offerings to address the surge in demand, but that won’t break the bank. 

Zoom out: Airbnb will also include more details about the stay, like whether there’s a lock on the door, a private bathroom, and who you’ll find hanging out in common areas. In 2022, the company did away with separate cleaning fees and “unreasonable” checkout chores.—SB

To catch our full interview with Airbnb Co-Founder Nathan Blecharczyk coming out next week, be sure to subscribe to Free Lunch by The Peak wherever you listen to podcasts.