Anyone who uses Instagram of Snapchat knows that the stories feature has been one of the most engaging reasons to keep coming back to these networks. Even Google has incorporated stories into its services. Now Airbnb is becoming the latest adopter of the format: the travel and accommodations startup has quietly launched a new feature called Travel Stories, a way for guests to create video sequences of their Airbnb experiences to post on the site.
The company has sent out invitations for a beta of the service to a pool of users . An FAQ page about the new format says that for now, Story making is only available on the latest version of its iPhone app, under the Travel Stories tab of your profile. Video clips are limited to 10 seconds each and are taken from your camera roll and can be edited in the Airbnb app.
Stories can serve a couple of purposes for Airbnb when they are rolled out more widely. They could become another way of creating more engaged feedback from visitors of a particular destination or experience or property, and this, in turn, could be another way of getting subsequent users to also book the same experiences, and even refer to the site while on those trips for tips. “Airbnb stories are for inspiring other travelers like yourself!” as the company notes.
Airbnb has been on a long-term mission to increase the stickiness of its platform. The aim is to make it more than a place that you visit once in a while when you are planning a trip. That has led to the company launching experiences — events that you might get involved in without even leaving the city you live in — as well concierge-style services to help guide you around while you are on your trip, and other travel services to get you to and from your destination.
This isn’t likely to be Airbnb’s only big bet in the near future. TechCrunch noted that Airbnb is prepping a loyalty program that would reward frequent travelers. It’s not certain just how this would function, but it’s possible that you’ll earn points toward future stays. You’d have an incentive to use Airbnb beyond any up front savings over a conventional hotel, and might be tempted to upgrade to a posh location if you get a steep-enough discount.
The new tool can be accessed in the profile view under “Travel Stories,” and it’s currently available for iPhone with the latest version of the Airbnb app. No word yet on when it will arrive on Android.