Airbnb unveils new category of rentals rated by inspectors

Brian Chesky
FILE - In this April 19, 2016, file photo, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky speaks during an event in San Francisco. Airbnb is following up its Super Bowl ad on Feb. 5, 2017, calling for acceptance with a campaign to provide short-term housing over the next five years for 100,000 people in need. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Airbnb is dispatching inspectors to rate some of the properties listed on its home-rental service in an effort to reassure travelers they’re booking nice places to stay.

The Plus program, unveiled Thursday, is aimed at winning over travelers who aren’t sure they can trust the computer-driven system that Airbnb uses to assess the quality of rentals. Airbnb believes travelers will be willing to pay more for inspector-certified properties, allowing homeowners and apartment dwellers to recoup a $149 fee to participate in Plus.

The program will initially cover only about 2,000 properties in 13 cities – a small fraction of the roughly 4.5 million properties listed on Airbnb in 81,000 cities worldwide. By the end of the year, Airbnb foresees verifying the quality of 75,000 homes in 50 cities.

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