Airbnb unveiled a major redesign on Wednesday to market itself as a warmer, fuzzier company that caters to making people feel like they can "belong" anywhere in the world.
Central to Airbnb's makeover is a new symbol the company has dubbed the "Bélo." This curvy, upside-down heart or paperclip symbol (and stylized letter A) is meant to represent "people, places, love, and what's distinctly Airbnb," the company wrote in an email to its community members.
"Belonging has always been a fundamental driver of humankind. So to represent that feeling, we've created a symbol for us as a community," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote in a blog post. "It's an iconic mark for our windows, our doors, and our shared values. It's a symbol that, like us, can belong wherever it happens to be."
The message is clear: Airbnb is looking to get away from criticism that says its service can lead to illegal hotel operators and slumlords, and the company wants to inundate people with this message of community and belonging.
Along with the new cuddly jargon, Airbnb has also made a few tweaks to its site and added a couple of features. The company revamped its website and iOS and Android apps and also rolled out a "Discover" section meant to inspire users by showing them potential travel destinations.
Additionally, Airbnb added a neighborhood feature to all listings, so hosts can give their input on nearby local highlights and guests know exactly what part of town they're staying in. And, last but not least, another new feature lets Airbnb'ers create their own unique versions of the Bélo symbol.
"It's a symbol for people who want to try a new tea they've never heard of from a village they couldn't find on the map," Chesky wrote. "It's a symbol for going where the locals go -- the cafe that doesn't bother with a menu, the dance club hidden down a long alleyway, the art galleries that don't show up in the guidebooks. It's a symbol for people who want to welcome into their home new experiences, new cultures, and new conversations."