After years of trying, Airbnb to formally launch Experiences service
Airbnb is likely to go mainstream in the next few weeks on its attempts to expand the product into new areas: namely activities and things to do.
The company has recently sent an email to hosts in which it encourages them to “be one of the first experience hosts”, launching it appears initially in San Francisco in the first week of December.
“Whether it’s an intimate dinner at your house, a rosé brunch in the park, dinner and a bonfire at the beach, or a serendipitous excursion to your favorite pop-up in the Mission, every idea you share is a chance for a traveler to belong in San Francisco.”
A sign-up page allows hosts to “earn extra money showing travellers your favourite local sights or hosting an activity with your friends”.
Essentially this is the formalisation of a hosts-as-guides service on the site.
Whilst the news that Experiences is going live is likely to get hosts and the press excited (“genius move”, says Jack Smith on ProductHunt), Airbnb has actually been testing this type of service on and off for quite some time.
The first signs that the home-sharing site wanted to expand what it hosts are able to offer came in May 2013, when some started selling products such as boat trips and other local activities.
This followed the launch in late-2012 of its Neighbourhoods pages, where hosts could recommend things to do in particular area, such as cafes, museums, and other activities.
An even earlier partnership with Vayable to up-sell experiences to users of Airbnb on confirmation emails ended reasonably quickly after its launch in 2011.
The most recent iteration of its testing the activities and experience waters came in May 2014 when pages appeared with guides selling products such as mountain bike tours in San Francisco.
Again, Airbnb played it all down said the idea was it simply “experimenting with new ways to create meaningful experiences” and wouldn’t share any more details.
The latest attempt could be another “experiment”, but there is plenty of product already lined up, providing things as diverse as surfing, hiking, city walks and shopping tours.
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