Airbnb is rolling out a huge app redesign made in collaboration with famed former Apple designer Jony Ive and his firm LoveFrom. The new changes will let users search for stays based on categories and plan trips that include more than one home and are rolling out to users in the US today.
Categories will essentially serve as filters for stays that encompass certain elements, including camping, surfing, amazing views, bed and breakfasts, and countryside. Airbnb is highlighting its design category, which it says features over 20,000 homes “chosen for their iconic architecture and interiors.” This category will feature homes from architects such as Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. Another category, OMG!, sorts stays simply based on how unique and interesting they are.
“Overall, being able to tap into the expertise of one of the world’s most celebrated designers, Jony Ive, is an incredible opportunity for Airbnb,” Airbnb spokesperson Liz DeBold Fusco said in a statement to The Verge. When asked about Ive’s involvement with this redesign, DeBold Fusco said “yes” without going into more detail.
In addition to categories, Airbnb is also rolling out Split Stays. This option will let users split their time between multiple stays in the same area in case one stay isn’t available for the entire time of their trip. Airbnb says it will help you search for Split Stays by “intelligently pairing” two homes that come with a similar location, property, and amenities.
The company is also launching something called AirCover, a free protection plan that gives users access to a safety line, and also comes with some safeguards against scams. This includes a booking protection guarantee, check-in guarantee, and get-what-you-booked guarantee. If the stay you booked wasn’t what you expected, or if you’re unable to check into the stay, Airbnb says it will refund you or find you a “similar or better home.” This also applies to booking cancellations made by the host within 30 days of your planned check-in.
Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, calls this “the biggest change to Airbnb in a decade,” and says we can’t help but see Ive’s fingerprints all over it. Airbnb snapped up Ive in 2020, shortly after he left his long-time position as Apple’s product designer, announcing a multi-year partnership with Ive and his design firm LoveFrom, which also has arrangements with Ferrari and its holding company Exor.
In an interview with Chesky on Decoder in 2021, he noted, “Jony and I are working together on thinking through the entire Airbnb design and ecosystem — the system of trust, the reviews, the profiles, the payments, how the whole thing works together.” When asked when we might start seeing Ive’s work, Chesky replied by saying, “Certainly 2023. There might be some stuff next year.”
It looks like we might see more from Ive / LoveFrom soon, too. DeBold Fusco hinted at further collaboration to The Verge, noting, “We can’t share more on our work with him, but stay tuned.”