Airbnb has embarked on what it is calling “the most significant development in its eight-year history” as it expands outside the accommodation sector.
The shared economy company has launched Trips, a new platform that incorporates social and local activities into the Airbnb booking process. The concept initially features three areas – Experiences, Places and Home – with Flights and Services to be added in future.
“Until now, Airbnb has been about home,” said Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb. “Today, Airbnb is launching Trips, bringing together where you stay, what you do and the people you meet, all in one place. We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip.”
Trips promises to “immerse travellers” in their communities, providing access to local arts, crafts and events “like violin making in Paris or marathon running in Kenya”. The concept launches with 500 “Experiences” in 12 global cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Nairobi, Cape Town, Tokyo and Seoul.
Airbnb hosts can also now request to add their own experiences to the list, in all of the aforementioned cities plus another 39 destinations. Some of the experiences will also help not-for-profit organisations.
Under the “Places” aspect of Trips, Airbnb has developed guidebooks and identified local “cultural experts” that allow travellers to explore their destination. Initially, 100 guidebooks will be available covering six cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Havana, Nairobi, Detroit and Seoul with more being planned. These will include a series of local recommendations, including cafes and restaurants which can then be booked via a restaurant booking platform, Resy, through the Airbnb app.
Airbnb has also entered into a partnership with Detour for audio walking tours, which are initially available for Los Angeles, with San Francisco, Paris, London, Tokyo and Seoul to follow in 2017.
Booking Trips, travellers will be able to compile an itinerary into a single travel timeline, with the ability to add the new elements into their accommodation reservation.
Airbnb now offers approximately three million accommodation options in 191 countries.