In spite of the understandable misgivings of people about letting their apartments to complete strangers, Airbnb has gone a long way since it was founded in 2008. The service has given countless people all over the world an opportunity to book unique accommodations and to earn from their extra living space at the same time. Recently, Airbnb expanded its operations to include two new features: Neighborhood and Local Lounges.

Airbnb

Airbnb

Airbnb’s Neighborhoods

When was the last time you planned a trip to a destination you haven’t visited before? How much time did you spend searching for accommodations that suit your budget and preferences? How about the time you spent in determining which neighborhood is the best for?

I don’t know about you, but choosing the neighborhood takes up a lot of my time, especially if I don’t really know much about the city. Apparently, I am not the only one with that issue, and that is why Airbnb has launched Neighborhoods, a feature that enables users to pinpoint locations based on expressed interests.

With the use of tags, the lifestyle and highlights of neighborhoods are incorporated into searches, making it easier for users to find places to sleep in in areas which will match what they are looking for in their travel.

Airbnb’s Local Lounges

As for Local Lounges, the idea is to provide some sort of certification for local establishments where travelers can hang out. Airbnb thus partners up with cafes and restaurants, which will receive the right to proclaim their affiliation. This obviously benefits the business, with travelers presumably being more attracted to their site. On the part of the traveler, there is the assurance that they can find quality hang outs where they can also receive tips and guides about the city.

Right now, San Francisco is serving as the pilot city for Local Lounges, with 10 cafes participating in the program.

I am definitely interested in looking for these Local Lounges as they spread out to other locations in the future. Exploring a strange city and going on an adventure of sorts is always welcome, but it is also nice to have a base hang out where you know you can find some help in case you need it. Or simply sit down, have a cup of coffee as you check your email, or do whatever you do in your downtime.

[Image via Yawning Gets You Nowhere]