Is Airbnb Now Offering Local Activity Curation In Addition To Lodgings?
The brand has been testing a service that helps guests find experiences to try while in town - like guided tours, hikes, and classes.
Although Airbnb happily stands out as a peer-to-peer hospitality service, it is beginning to experiment with more traditional hospitality offerings like experience concierges that offer guests activity recommendations while they are in town.
In 2012, Airbnb partnered with Vayable – an experience-finder site – to offer up local-led experiences, but that collaboration ended. The void left behind is something Airbnb is now offering on their own, experimenting in just a couple markets – Paris and San Francisco. In San Francisco, travelers are offered bike tours, food tastings and pub crawls.
There is however, no indication on the site or the mobile app that these experiences are up for offer – so perhaps they are announced once Airbnbers book a space. It is clearly still in its experimentation phase and there has been no official announcement from their press department, just a lot of media speculation. The only comment from Airbnb is a tight lipped one:
We are always experimenting with new ways to create meaningful experiences on Airbnb, we currently don’t have any updates to share.
What is clear is the expansion of Airbnb to experiences is one way that the company may be trying to grow as it just completed another round of funding, raising $450 million. Indeed, Nate Blecharczyk, Airbnb cofounder and CTO has made no secret that the company is looking to extend its purview beyond peer-to-peer home rentals.
But the question for Airbnb is: how will it maintain that peer-to-peer, anti-establishment positioning in the marketplace – the reason that many people go to it. If it becomes a holistic travel site, offering everything from plane tickets to theatre tickets, as Blecharczyk suggests, will it just become another Expedia?
Header image via Peppermill Reno