Since its inception eight years ago, Airbnb has been all about short-term rentals instead of idyllic adventures. It’s also had its share of criticism, from security and taxes to financial and legal liabilities and even pricing. So in an effort to work with local governments around the world, Airbnb is trying to evolve into a fuller service travel agency. And one of the steps it’s taking towards doing that is through its latest service (which is already available on the Airbnb website): Trips.
Airbnb is hoping to broaden its business by providing tours, activities, excursions and other experiences. The goal for Trips? To help travellers “immerse in a local community,” said Brian Chesky, the chief executive and co-founder of Airbnb, at the company’s annual conference.
Obviously the new service helps Airbnb create more revenue, gets renters and locals to make more money in the process, all while hopefully appeasing local legislators and Airbnb hosts. And making it a fuller service operation should do just that.
According to The Economist, the company is offering about 500 activity booking options across 12 cities: London, Miami, Nairobi, Havana, Florence, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Detroit, Seoul, Paris and Cape Town. Activities range from violin making in Paris and marathon running in Kenya, dance parties in Havana and surfing in L.A. to historical tours in Cape Town and unleashing your inner vixen in London. The cost depends on the activity, ranging anywhere from $30 to several hundred for multi-day events.
And that’s just the beginning. Airbnb hopes to conquer every step of the travel process, from restaurant reservations, rental cars, flight bookings and even ordering groceries. And with travellers increasingly choosing Airbnb over traditional hotels, it seems like they’re on to something.