With 32,000 Homes In Cuba, Airbnb Looks at Expanding Latin America

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After former president Barack Obama opened the doors of Cuba in more than half a century, Airbnb was one of the first American companies to take advantage of a new tourism market. With 1,000 properties listed, the lodging rental startup wanted to make sure tourist could book rooms while visiting the beautiful Caribbean island. Fast forward almost three years later, the San Francisco-based company has over 32,000 homes in Cuba. 

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Now, thanks to Airbnb's recently announced new features the company hopes to continue to expand within Latin America. According to Jordi Torres, Regional Director for LATAM at the moment Superguest, Superhost, and Airbnb collections are three of the new initiative that will help take Airbnb to the next level in this region. 

Superhost, which features 400,000 hosts around the world, recognizes hosts go above and beyond. To thank their extraordinary work, Airbnb announced the expansion of the program with 14 new benefits including custom URLs and more. Like Superhost, Airbnb revealed they would also start recognizing their best guests in a program later this year. Superguest offers Airbnb's top guests with a loyalty program similar to hotels.

To help guests sort through 4.5 million places to stay in 81 000 cities, the company launched Airbnb Collections to refine homes to perfectly suit everyone's needs. At the moment the rental platform is currently offering Airbnb for Families and Airbnb for Work. 

While there are close to 100,000 listings currently in Mexico—50% hosted by women—the numbers are expected to increase once Airbnb Plus and Beyond gets introduce to Latin America.

"Airbnb Plus [properties] are all the comforts of home, plus more. These are beautiful homes, from exceptional hosts, and every single one of them are verified for quality," Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky said in a press conference in San Francisco.

 

This new tier of homes are helping close the gap space between Airbnb lovers and hotel aficionados thanks to some higher-end listing that meet a 100-point quality checklist. While at the moment the company is launching Airbnb plus with 2000 homes in 13 cities, Torres told Latina cities such as Buenos Aires, Rivera Maya, and São Paulo are among some the company hopes to form part of the projected 75,000 Airbnb Plus homes in 50 destinations globally by the end of 2018.

To further commit to becoming the go-to place for all things travel, the popular home-rental service also introduced Airbnb Beyond. In collaboration with the Montreal-based startup Luxury Retreats, Airbnb is launching a high-end service this Spring that will allow vacationers to stay at super luxe homes while experiencing amazing on-site activities such as cooking and much more.

 

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“It’s the trip of a lifetime, custom-designed,” Chesky said. While Torres was not able to comment if any Latin America country would be part of Airbnb Beyond, he did reassure that there are places in Latin American that would "appeal" this particular type of traveler.