Airbnb is expanding its last-minute booking options with a new app feature.
The new feature is all about instant booking, which has been growing quickly on the apartment-booking service. At the end of 2013, about 35,000 listings offered same-day service, versus more than 90,000 today, according to the company.
"We want to make it easier to book an experience anytime, anywhere," Airbnb said on its company blog. "When people open the Airbnb mobile app, we highlight listings that are instantly available last-minute within the Search page and the Discover feed."
The company is making it easier to book instantly, beginning in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The first cities to get the feature are San Francisco and Los Angeles, with more to be added in the near future. Same-day booking is not new for the service, but the updates to the app put a clear focus on encouraging spontaneous trips.
In addition to catering to guests who want the ability to book same day, Airbnb also says it wants to encourage hosts to offer more "instantly-bookable" listings. The hosts are as much a user of the service as the guests, said Airbnb's director of product Joe Zadeh.
Hosts looking to offer a listing for same- or next-day booking can set up conditions for users: They can require that the guest is an experienced user, for example.
Airbnb isn't the only company trying to cater to travelers who leave planning until the last minute. Hotel booking service HotelTonight offers last-minute deals on hotels, and larger booking services like Expedia and Priceline also offer last-minute booking.
In addition to the instant booking feature, Airbnb is expanding its recommendation service. The company is experimenting with a "Weekend Getaways" feature that highlights potential trips nearby. Users in San Francisco, for example, could see weekend destination suggestions like Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles and Portland. If users book the getaways, the feature will be expanded, according to Airbnb.
The new features are available on the Airbnb mobile app for iOS and Android starting Tuesday.
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