Airbnb is rolling out a huge app redesign this summer that its CEO Brian Chesky calls “the biggest change in a decade.” The new changes are rolling out to users in the US today and will let users search for stays based on categories and plan trips that include more than one home.
The presentation, and especially an intro video for the Sumer 2022 launch included in Chesky’s tweet, feels like it draws directly from Apple’s product launches over the last 20 years, which we’d expect from a company collaborating with famed former Apple designer Jony Ive and his firm LoveFrom. When asked if Ive was involved with this redesign, Airbnb spokesperson Liz DeBold Fusco said, “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,” but said it is not from his team.
The Categories feature essentially serves 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.
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.
Even without confirmation of Ive’s hand in the redesign, we can’t help but see his 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 him and his design firm LoveFrom, which also has arrangements with Ferrari and its holding company Exor.
In an interview on Decoder in 2021, Chesky 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.”
Correction May 11th, 10:46AM ET: A previous version of the story credited the redesign to Jony Ive based on a response from Airbnb but, in subsequent replies, confirmed it is not from his team. We regret the error.