There's no denying it: Airbnb has entered into a new era. What began as a small, cutesy place where web-savvy homeowners could rent their property has become a powerhouse of its own. As the company broadens its horizons in paving new roads in hospitality, it's been very busy forging new partnerships and introducing more perks for users this year. Here are some of the most notable developments:
Earn Virgin America Elevate Points
America's newest, most modern airline is teaming up with Airbnb to encourage travelers to "Work Hard, Hawai'i Hard." To celebrate the launch of direct flights on Virgin from San Francisco to Honolulu (HNL) as well as Maui (OGG), loyalists of the airline will be able to earn Elevate for every Airbnb reservation they make. You'll get 1,500 Elevate points on your first Airbnb stay, and members who book through VirginAmerica.com will also get one point per $1 spent on completed Airbnb trips. Additionally, Elevate members who become Airbnb hosts will earn 20,000 Elevate points.
Book Airbnb Rentals with AmEx Points
Starting this week, avid American Express users can apply their rewards points directly to Airbnb stays. The partnership also allows for a "seamless booking experience in over 190 countries" via the bank's online Express Checkout payment tool. What's more, AmEx card holders who set up their account using their AmEx login will be provided with a certified badge on their Airbnb profile.
Research & Manage Bookings via Apple
Airbnb will soon launch a dedicated Apple TV app, enabling eager travelers to flip through rental photos on their HDTV prior to making a selection. The TV could be the next great marketplace for Airbnb, as it allows the entire family to easily look at destination photos and have their collective imaginations run wild. Got an Apple Watch? You can now easily manage and reply to guest conversations from their wrist, making it that much easier to stay in contact as a host.
Book a Tesla-ready Airbnb
As Tesla's network of electric car owners expands, the desire to find rental properties with charging stations will increase. For west coast road trippers, the need is already there -- hence a new partnership between the automaker and Airbnb. A dedicated web portal allows hosts to apply for a charger, even if they don't actually own a Tesla. On the other side of the fence, Airbnb has allowed prospective guests to filter homes by their Tesla readiness, making it easy to plan long-haul trips.
Simplifying Airbnb Business Travel with Concur
If you're a corporate worker, you've almost certainly heard of Concur -- the tool used by companies to manage travel and expenses. Now that there's full integration through Concur TripLink, it's easier than ever for business travelers to expense stays at Airbnb rentals (and for companies to approve those stays).
Have you taken advantage of any other Airbnb perks? Share with us in comments below!