Airbnb's 'Flexible Dates' Search Focuses on Where You're Traveling, Not When
Airbnb is acknowledging the realities of travel in the remote work era.
Travel is still hurting due to the pandemic, but Airbnb wants to be ready for that moment when people are comfortable heading out again — even if remote work has changed how they book trips. It's introducing a Flexible Dates search option that shies away from choosing exact days in favor of general time frames. You can look for a weekend in June or a months-long stay during the summer, for instance. Airbnb hopes this will give you more options for places to go in an era when you might not need to return to a physical office after your vacation.
Searches are limited to homes, and Airbnb notes that the feature doesn't account for COVID-19 travel restrictions. You'll still need to be sure it's legal and safe to go.
Flexible Dates search should be "widely available" now across Airbnb's apps and websites.
It's easy to see some of the more pragmatic reasons behind the new option. When the pandemic winds down, there may be a surge of people eager to travel for its own sake, and not too particular about when they go. The new search choice could help Airbnb capitalize on that demand. The company also hopes this will help hosts find more customers. When the pandemic has gutted the travel business, this could mean the difference between a host staying with Airbnb or leaving home rentals entirely.