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Airbnb unveils revamped website as holiday season enters full swing

Airbnb, an online service in the mould of CouchSurfing, has unveiled a revamped website that focuses on creating a dream holiday.

A new Wish List feature, for example, allows you to build the perfect vacation and share saved lists with friends.

Wish Lists are a "completely new way to discover amazing, unique spaces on Airbnb," the company said in a blog post. "Wish Lists let you explore beautiful collections of spaces created by others, save your favourite spaces, and share your creations with your friends seamlessly."

Airbnb is also highlighting "some of the most beautiful properties" available on its site via the homepage. See something you like? Click the "Save to Wish List" button. Airbnb will offer a few default settings like Dream Homes or Vacation Places, but you can create your own wish lists, too. With Facebook Connect, you can also explore the Wish Lists created by friends.

Airbnb said it will soon be working with "world-class partners," who will provide rewards for creating Wish Lists, but Airbnb did not have any other details on who those partners might be.

As noted by Forbes, which got early access to the new Airbnb, the site "seems intent on upgrading its image from that of a classier version of Couchsurfing (at least in some users minds), to a Showcase Showdown-worthy vacation depot."

Airbnb took off last year, raising $112 million (£72 million) in a July 2011 funding round. Its rise was not without controversy, however. The company was criticised in 2011 for not reimbursing a customer whose home was trashed by Airbnb users. It later added a $50,000 (£32,000) "guarantee" against damage for those who book customers through the Airbnb Web site, a number that was recently bumped to $1 million (£640,000).

An Airbnb spokeswoman said the company reached 10 million guests nights booked last Tuesday, up from 5 million just five months ago.