Airbnb shook the travel world when it launched Experiences in the fall of 2016.
It’s fair to say no one was quite prepared for the pomp and circumstance the company launched the product with: Airbnb’s home page - until just recently - featured Experiences above the fold, and pushed its core Homes product far down the page.
The homepage now offers destination search box highlighting Homes and Experiences, and search results in some destinations display Experiences above Homes, showing just how much Airbnb still seeks to invest in and expand the Experiences product.
And it seems to be working: recent press reports peg Airbnb’s Experiences at “growing ten times faster than the company’s core home rental business.”
But while Airbnb has invested massively in ensuring consumers see Experiences, traditional tour and activity operators have been somewhat left in the dark.
At Arival, we’ve heard the same refrain from numerous types of activity operators. “Is Airbnb for me?” “Why won’t Airbnb accept my tour?” “How does Experiences work?” “What do I need to do differently for Airbnb guests?”
Tour and activity operators will have to consider what types of Experiences that Airbnb and its customers want, how to market and position them on Airbnb, how to to set capacity limits on Experiences, and many other key questions.
Understanding and answering these questions is crucial for any tour and activity operator thinking about listing on Airbnb.
Airbnb has designed Experiences to attract customers that may not normally be inclined to take “traditional” tours.
Even if tour and activity operators don’t think listing on Airbnb is right for them, operators should learn just how the next generation of travelers is thinking about Experiences.
The future of these operators may depend on it.
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