Airbnb extends beyond rooms to make travel magical

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 18 November 2016

Airbnb wants to make travel magical and be a one-stop shop for travellers. It's launching Trips, a platform that allows people to book experiences in global cities as well as accommodation and backing the launch with a multimillion dollar campaign.

Trips is designed to help travellers “immerse” themselves in the places they travel and discover hidden gems that only locals know about, network and swap recommendations with other users.

Airbnb defines 'experiences' as hand crafted activities designed and led by local experts. It could be anything from pottery classes, to samurai sword fighting, fire breathing, meditation classes or dog training sessions.

It is launching in 12 cities today with 500 experiences – although there are no Australian cities on the list yet.

People can now use the platform to make money not just from their homes, but their passions and hobbies, whether that is burlesque dancing, martial arts or truffle hunting. Airbnb says it “empowers people to share their passions” with visitors.

Places and experiences will now be searchable and bookable in the same way rooms and homes are. The move is an extension of the global creative campaign Airbnb launched earlier this year which pushed the idea Airbnb allows people to 'live' somewhere when they travel and become part of the community – not just book a room.

The travel site plans to add a flight booking capability and more services down the line. The idea is for Airbnb to become a one-stop shop for travellers to do everything in their itinerary in one place from research, through booking and then going on the trip.

It is also building in machine learning capabilities to offer personalised and contextual suggestions for travellers based on previous behaviours and selections.

Earlier this year Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall outlined the direction to AdNews. He said at the time "It's like a complete end-to-end travel experience. You’re going to see wok and products that transcends accommodation so we can really build this notion that when you travel on Airbnb you really feel like you’re living there.”

Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and founder, says: “Until now, Airbnb has been about homes. 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.”

Airbnb is also introducing guidebooks, meet ups and audio walks to bring destinations to life through recommendations from locals.

A partnership with US-based restaurant booking app Resy allows bookings to be made through the Airbnb app, and a partnership with Detour means audio walking tours will also be available.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at rosiebaker@yaffa.com.au

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