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Airbnb returns to its roots with 'Rooms' but will initiative silence critics?

Airbnb is going back to its roots by launching Airbnb Rooms, an updated version of its original aim to let guests stay in a room within someone else’s home.

The platform explains that in the current cost-of-living crisis, and years of being isolated, visitors are looking for “ways to connect with people and have authentic experiences”.

Founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky (main pic) came up the idea of allowing people to rent out a spare room for the odd night or two after they charged three guests $80 each to sleep on airbeds in their San Francisco apartment in 2007. The concept has since grown to more than four million hosts across the world.

This year, Airbnb is expecting more than 300 million guest arrivals but it, along with the rest of the short-lets sector, has come under increasing scrutiny from communities, councillors and MPs – particularly in coastal resorts – who claim it is depriving residents of long-term rented accommodation. This move would seem to go some way to addressing that.

Host passport

The platform explains that every Airbnb Room will feature a Host Passport, which helps guests get to know their host before booking their stay, including a larger personal photo and background information.

It has created a rooms category with more than one million listings, showing whether the bathrooms are shared or private, if the bedroom door has a lock and whether people other than the host will be there during a stay.

“With Airbnb Rooms, we’re getting back to the idea that started it all – back to our founding ethos of sharing,” says Chesky.

“Airbnb Rooms are often more affordable than hotels, and they’re the most authentic way to experience a city.”

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