Airbnb Just Got a Step Closer to Being the Only Travel App You Need
In an effort to become a one-stop shop for travelers, Airbnb just added a new function to its app: restaurant reservations.
Primarily a hospitality service that has expanded recently to offer other traveling experiences in addition to a place to sleep, Airbnb announced Wednesday it has a new feature that will allow its millions of users to book tables at restaurants while they are traveling after partnering with Resy, a restaurant reservation app.
That means users can open their Airbnb apps on iOS and Android devices, as well as online, to find the best restaurants in the area and book a last-minute minute or well in advanced. The feature allows users to search for specific cuisines, price ranges and locations, as well as peruse highlighted restaurants by the companies, like "iconic restaurants" and best brunch spots. The idea is to make the best restaurants in the area easily available for Airbnb users, executives from Airbnb and Resy told reporters on Wednesday.
"When you're on vacation, every night is a Saturday night, so this is a way for us to help fill up seats for local businesses," Joebot Zadeh, vice president of travel at Airbnb, said.
The feature now offers reservations for about 650 restaurants in 16 cities across the U.S., and the company hopes to quickly expand the feature globally. The reservation feature is currently available under the "restaurants" tab of the app, where users can book tables, view their upcoming reservations and communicate with the restaurants over a direct messaging system.
"One of the big opportunities is to eliminate all the noise and just present what's great in the city," said Ben Leventhal, co-founder and CEO of Resy.
Last year, Airbnb invested $13 million in Resy, prompting rumors of a possible collaboration between the two companies. Zadeh told Money Airbnb chose Resy over other similar apps because of the app's approach to local dining — which falls in line with Airbnb's focus on a local experience for users, rather than that of a typical tourist. He would not say how Airbnb is making money off the new feature, though Leventhal expressed excitement for restaurants featured by Resy to have access to Airbnb's expansive user base.
In Nov. 2016, Airbnb took its first steps beyond just offering its users the ability to book places to stay by expanding its accommodations offerings with a new trips feature, which allows users to explore activities to do in the cities they visit led by locals. The new restaurant reservation services appears to make Airbnb more competitive with other travel services, like Priceline, which owns the popular Open Table app.
When asked by Money whether Airbnb will explore other aspects of travel, like airline or car booking, Zadeh said the company is interested in "all aspects of travel." "We're constantly working to become a one-stop-shop and go-to place for travelers," Zadeh said.