Airbnb launches organised tours with a twist

Ultimate travel disruptor Airbnb is expanding beyond home rentals into organised tours. The launch of its Trips service sees it “bringing together where you stay, what you do and the people you meet all in one place,” it said.

The company said “Trips is a people-powered platform designed to make travel both easy and magical.” Or without the PR-speak, it’s the chance to meet locals in a more organised way, enjoy city tours and have more “immersive” experiences.

It launches with three key areas, Experiences, Places and Homes, with Flights and Services to be added in the future. The company has been testing the service for several months.

Experiences are handcrafted activities designed and led by local experts, be it a single activity like a Samurai Swordplay workshop, an immersive multi-day experience like learning about and driving classic cars in Malibu, or truffle hunting in Tuscany and discovering the grime music scene in London.

Trips launches with around 500 Experiences in 12 cities worldwide, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Nairobi, Cape Town, Tokyo and Seoul. From today, budding hosts in those and a further 39 cities worldwide can request to list their Experience.

A number of Experiences will also be available where guests can give something back to communities through non-profit organisations. In Detroit for example, one host provides an opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at his Downtime Boxing Gym that provides local children with an after-school program of healthy snacks, homework time, and boxing lessons.

The Places offer “brings places to life through the people that live there, reflecting the recommendations of hundreds of thousands of Airbnb hosts, neighbourhood insiders and local influencers and is an alternative to aggregated tourist lists that funnel people to the same places.”

That means that with Insider Guidebooks, Airbnb has identified cultural experts and neighbourhood insiders to recommend the hidden gems within their city. That can mean users find “the perfect run from a marathoner, the best dive bar from a local mixologist and the next great undiscovered restaurant from an up-and-coming chef.” 100 Insider Guidebooks will be available at launch in six cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Havana, Nairobi, Detroit and Seoul – with more coming soon.

As well as Insider Guidebooks, Places includes over 1m individual recommendations worldwide from Airbnb’s home hosts, recommending their favourite hidden gems in their neighbourhoods, from cafes and restaurants to parks and other local attractions. A partnership with restaurant booking platform, Resy, will  also make it possible for people in future to book tables at local restaurants directly through the Airbnb app.


The comapny has also struck an exclusive partnership with Detour to offer access to experiential audio walking tours allowing people to discover neighbourhoods in a different way. At launch, audio tours will initially be available for Los Angeles with San Francisco, Paris, London, Tokyo and Seoul to follow by spring 2017.

The company said the Homes aspect of its service means the properties available on the app and website will now be available to book alongside Experiences in available cities.

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