Airbnb Announces Neighborhoods, Local Lounges

By Cameron Scott 

neighborhoods, local lounges, airbnb, social networks, sharingAirbnb today launched Neighborhoods, a feature that allows users to seeking lodging to research which neighborhood best suits their needs.

The feature launched with 300 neighborhoods in seven cities around the world: San Francisco; New York; Washington, D.C.; London; Berlin; Paris; and Rio de Janeiro.

The company said that users have identified location as the single most important criteria guiding which Airbnb location they select in a given city. The feature allows users to select from a number of categories, such as dining or museums, that matter to them, and Airbnb will suggest neighborhoods that boast those features.

Each neighborhood section features a series of photographs of the neighborhood as well as original written content and maps. The map includes travel times to local attractions, such as museums.

“You don’t have to go off and do a bunch of research on Google Maps, we’ve already done that for you here,” said product lead Ann Montgomery.

The company hired 70 photographers and a cartographer to develop the Neighborhoods feature, it said.

“We strive to show each neighborhood in its best light but also in an honest light, so users know what to expect when they get there, but also so they trust us,” Montgomery said.

Airbnb also announced a San Francisco pilot program of a feature it hopes to deliver globally: Local Lounges, or featured coffee shops in diverse neighborhoods in the city where travelers can get a guide book of crowd-sourced local recommendations for dining and other activities in the city. The selected coffee shops all offer free Wi-Fi and long hours.

The promoted coffee shops and lists of users’ favorite businesses takes Airbnb further into the hotly contested area of local business recommendations. Airbnb has increasingly made the case that it benefits local economies.

At today’s press event, the company said that San Francisco’s Mission District sees 1,000 Airbnb guests every week.