Airbnb introduced two new features on Tuesday in an effort to help last minute vacationers find a place to stay, though for now these services are only available in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company’s mobile app will now highlight any available last minute listings along with a new “Weekend Getaways” feature for impromptu vacations.
Last minute listings should prove particularly useful for Airbnb users, especially if you end up changing travel plans at the last minute or a hotel booking falls through. The new feature is available as a tab within the Search and Discover sections of the app. Airbnb hosts can also help speed up the process by filling out a list of criteria so vacationers who meet those standards are automatically approved.
The new service means the company will be competing directly with apps like Hotel Tonight and Hotels.com, which both offer last-minute hotel reservations but don’t have access to Airbnb’s peer-to-peer listings. The company has been quietly building up the new feature for the past few months, working to increase the number of bookings available at the last minute from 35,000 last January to 90,000 now.
Meanwhile, Weekend Getaways will help you plan a quick getaway somewhere nearby. The service will bring up locations that are either a short plane or car ride away, and book you a room that weekend from Friday to Sunday. If you’re desperate for a mini vacation and feel comfortable putting yourself in Airbnb’s hands completely it could be worth it.
For now these features are both limited to LA and SF, but Airbnb says it should be expanding to more cities in the near future.