For some time now, Airbnb has been toying with the idea to take over the tour-operator space. Executives at the home-sharing company have long remarked that many aspects of organizing travel are solely transactional and devoid of a human touch. This week, Airbnb has rolled out a whole slew of custom travel experiences called Airbnb Trips, complete with a revamped home page displaying its brand new offering.
“Until now, Airbnb has been about homes,” said Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, in a statement. “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.”
What the company calls one of its most significant products in its eight-year history is designed to merge accommodations with themed itineraries that introduce a local sampling of the destination. Guests will be able to feel immersed in communities, and explore interests and hidden gems culled from personal recommendations.
Proposed itineraries range from a few hours to a couple of days, and include activities such as violin making in Paris, marathon running in Kenya, driving classic cars in Malibu, California, and even truffle hunting in Tuscany, Italy. Airbnb Trips opens up a more social aspect to guests, while giving hosts the opportunity to profit from their interests and hobbies.
In select cities, the new service offers experiential audio walking tours through an app from Detour. Visitors will even be able to make restaurant reservations directly through the Airbnb app with Resy, a restaurant booking platform. Meet-up events held in various local businesses are also proposed to take place in cities around the world on any given night.
Around 500 different experiences are currently offered in 12 cities around the world, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Nairobi, Cape Town, Tokyo and Seoul, with more locations on the horizon. The Trips platform will eventually expand with flights and other travel services in the future.