Airbnb launches new program
Airbnb.com is a search site for vacation, bed and breakfast and room rentals for short term rent. The company today launched a photography program as mentioned in the above video that is free for all of their hosts’ listings, claiming to be available nearly everywhere in the world (with the caveat that they’re “still working on Antarctica”).
Professional photographers are contracted through Airbnb to visit and shoot any hosts’s property and the photos are uploaded to the site, featuring a “verified” ribbon which the company says leads to a listing getting booked more than two and a half times more frequently than hosts without verified photos. After a year in beta, Airbnb says the listings in their professional photography program average $1,025 in bookings per month.
The company is banking on their new offering to grow the company as it means more revenue to their own bottom line. “We learned early on that being able to offer photos and making a personal connection with the hosts was transformational for Airbnb,” the company said on their blog.
There are currently over 1,000 photographers in their network and they have shot listings in 383 cities and have featured photos on over 13,000 properties. This move adds value to their offering and could motivate various real estate search companies to discover ways to add photography to their own offering (although it would unlikely be free). Could a major real estate search giant acquire a professional photography network in existence? Acquisitions has been the name of the game this year, so we wouldn’t rule it out.