SaveSave story

Airbnb wants to go mainstream

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky at a press presentation in San Francisco on Feb. 22, 2018. Photo: Airbnb

Airbnb is looking to broaden its mainstream travel appeal with a slew of new features and options on its tenth anniversary, including hotels, a loyalty program, luxury travel, and vetted higher-end bookings.

Bigger picture: It won't be this year, but Airbnb will eventually go public. So it's working to reverse the long-standing perception that its service is not for everyone, as CEO Brian Chesky said on Thursday at a press event in San Francisco.

Between the lines: Airbnb has quietly allowed certain hotels on its marketplace for years, but it's now going to highlight them more prominently, a sign of its broader aspirations as a travel business, not just a home-sharing service.

  • Still, "we would distinguish between 'mass travel' and 'healthy travel,'" Airbnb policy and communications head Chris Lehane tells Axios, emphasizing the company's focus on providing local and unique experiences to travelers.
  • And while the added variety can help with attracting different types of guests and broaden its supply of accommodations, Lehane says it's "not being driven by a supply constraint as much as the desire to supply a new type of traveler the experience they want."
Dave Lawler 6 hours ago
SaveSave story

What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.

Haley Britzky 2 hours ago
SaveSave story

Another explosion rattles Austin, unrelated to prior package bombings

Police and FBI Agents investigate at the Sunset Valley FedEx store in Austin, Texas, which is linked to the package bomb.
Police and FBI Agents investigate at the Sunset Valley FedEx store in Austin, Texas, which is linked to the package bomb. Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro / AFP / Getty Images

Officials are responding to a sixth explosion in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday night, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The Austin Police Department said they don't believe it is connected to the previous explosions around the city.

The details: Per the Statesman, the explosion occurred at a Goodwill and one man is being treated for "potentially serious injuries." CBS News' David Begnaud reports that the incendiary device was a flare, "included in a bunch of donated items." Per KVUE in Austin, "the victim was an employee who was looking through donations."