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Airbnb unveils new category of rentals rated by inspectors

| Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, 3:51 p.m.
Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky talks about a new Plus program during an event Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, in San Francisco.
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky talks about a new Plus program during an event Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO — 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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