Airbnb Plus: Premium Prices Shifting Consumer Habits

Did you know, or notice rather, that companies these days are creating different tiers of their services strictly based on income and demand of their audiences rather than a one-for-all service?

Perhaps you’ve become aware of this on a smaller spectrum: many apps and internet services provide both free and premium options. Spotify’s free service, for example, offers its musical library with the consequence of enduring annoying advertisements every thirty minutes (if not more frequently) and the inability to skip more than five songs in a row. The premium services cost around $10 a month or $15 for family plans. With this, you have access to thousands upon thousands of songs that you can play whenever, ad-free. Bottom line: paying up gives you more control. Many dating apps offer similar features. You can swipe and browse people on the market for free, but with a monthly fee, you are able to access more functions.

Is it worth it to pay these fees? Certainly, this goes on a case by case basis. These levels of economics are trending lately with bigger markets as well. For example, Airbnb recently created “Airbnb Plus.” According to Condé Nast Traveler, “The plan takes Airbnb’s highest-rated homes and rooms and makes them even better. A low lift, but with it, the company hopes to capture the Airbnb-wary traveler who prefers to be taken care of on their vacation—with thread count and turndown service guaranteed, not photos of your niece and cats.” Essentially, this is Airbnb’s way of creating luxury stays for those who are sick of making a comfort-gamble with their reservations. Airbnb Plus weeds out messy and/or uncomfortable homes so that there is a high-end consistency for what a customer is browsing for, price-tag willing.  

Naturally, there are pros and cons to this kind of marketing. Quite possibly, these premium services came as a result of a company listening to its customers’ concerns. The genesis for Airbnb Plus probably was from customer complaints of low-quality stays. Airbnb has responded by creating the Plus service and by having representatives of the company inspect homes and take professional photos for their website. However, with this service, the price goes up. This limits a demographic of consumers who may not be able to afford these kinds of pricey indulgences. On the other hand, when you pay the price, you know what you’re getting into every time.  

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