Airbnb is rolling out a huge app overhaul this summer that CEO Brian Chesky calls “the biggest change in a decade.” The new changes are rolling out to users in the United States today and will allow users to 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’s taken directly from Apple’s product launches over the past 20 years, which is what we’d expect from a company collaborating with famed former Apple designer Jony Ive and his company LoveFrom. When asked if Ive was involved in this redesign, Airbnb spokeswoman Liz DeBold Fusco initially said “yes,” but didn’t provide further details.
After the publication of this message, Fusco contacted The edge and said “this design is not from Ive’s team.”
“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,” Fusco said. “We can’t share more about our work with him, but stay tuned.”
The Categories feature basically serves as filters for stays that encompass certain elements, including camping, surfing, stunning views, bed and breakfast, and countryside. Airbnb highlights its design category, which it says includes more than 20,000 homes “chosen for their iconic architecture and interiors.” This category will include houses by architects such as Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. Another category, OH MY GOD!the sorts simply remain based on their uniqueness and interestingness.
In addition to categories, Airbnb is also rolling out split stays. This option will allow users to split their time between multiple stays in the same area in case a stay is not available for the entire duration of their trip. Airbnb says it will help you find Split Stays by “smartly matching” 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 security line, and also includes safeguards against scams. This includes a reservation protection guarantee, a check-in guarantee and a guarantee to get what you have booked. If the stay you booked wasn’t what you expected, or you’re unable to check in, Airbnb will either refund you or find you “similar or better accommodation.” This also applies to reservation cancellations made by the host within 30 days of your scheduled arrival.
Even without confirmation of Ive’s hand in the redesign, we can’t help but see his fingerprints everywhere. Airbnb took over Ive in 2020 shortly after leaving his longtime role as an Apple product designer, announcing a multi-year partnership with him and his design company LoveFrom, which also has deals with Ferrari and its holding company Exor.
In an interview on decoder in 2021, Chesky noted, “Jony and I work together to think through the whole design and ecosystem of Airbnb – the trust system, reviews, profiles, payments, how it all works together .” When asked when we might start seeing Ive’s work, Chesky responded by saying, “Definitely 2023. There might be some stuff next year.”
Correction May 11, 10:46 a.m. ET: A previous version of the story attributed the redesign to Jony Ive based on a response from Airbnb. Airbnb later clarified that the design was not from its team.