Airbnb will start selling single-day and multi-day excursions, as the peer-to-peer accommodations-listing service looks to broaden its business.
The closely held company, which made the announcement at its annual Airbnb Open conference in Los Angeles on Thursday, will sell the excursions under a new platform called Trips, which will include categories called Experiences, Homes and Places.
The Experience category will have single-day and multi-day excursions, with half of the excursions costing less than $200, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in his keynote presentation. Airbnb is listing about 500 Experiences in 12 cities — Detroit, London, Paris, Nairobi, Havana, San Francisco, Cape Town, Florence, Miami, Seoul, Tokyo and Los Angeles — and will be available in 50 cities by next year.
The company is collaborating with local experts to lead such excursions, ranging from a food anthropologist giving interactive tours of an East Los Angeles marketplace to a jazz pianist leading a music-based Havana excursion.
“These aren’t tours,” said Chesky. “You actually participate, you immerse.”
Chesky estimated that about 10% of the experiences will be provided by Airbnb lodging hosts themselves.
Airbnb is also collaborating with Detour, which produces audio travel podcasts, to offer audio walking tours. Additionally, Airbnb will soon allow restaurant reservations to be booked through the Airbnb app, Chesky added.
The Places category are free digital guidebooks. For example, Airbnb offers a “My Malibu” guidebook authored by champion surfer Kelly Slater.
And, Airbnb may start flight-booking services. Chesky introduced a feature called Trip Platform that included flights and services categories, though he didn’t elaborate on what would be offered and when.
Chesky said that Airbnb had been working on expanding into excursions listings for about two years. The company earlier this year introduced a pilot program called City Hosts, which was described at the time as “multi-day trips curated by local, knowledgeable hosts.” The tours had been offered to a select group of Airbnb users and included 83 experiences in eight destinations.