Airbnb: Guests Want Local, Immersive Experiences

INTERNATIONAL REPORT—Airbnb has a global community of hosts and guests. More and more of these travelers are choosing to participate in an Airbnb Experience as part of their trip, and increasingly, locals are using Airbnb Experiences to explore the cities in which they live.

Airbnb Experiences immerse travelers in local communities around the world by offering one-of-a-kind activities that are handcrafted and led by local experts. From walking with wolves in Los Angeles to listening to live jazz in a repurposed London shipping container, experiences go beyond typical tours or classes by immersing guests in each host’s world.

Recently, Airbnb partnered with RXR Realty to convert portions of NYC commercial properties—including parts of Rockefeller Plaza—into a new category of urban lodging, complete with knowledgeable “hosts” to deliver personalized and local experiences.

Airbnb is also offering a series of updates regarding the growth of Airbnb Experiences, along with background on the different kinds of experiences that are proving popular with travelers.

Experiences Bookings Increase Nearly 7x

In a recent survey, “69% of respondents said they would rather spend more money on better activities than a nicer hotel room (31%)” and 65% “want to come back having experienced something new,” versus 35% saying they “want to come back feeling rested and recharged.” Airbnb Experiences are meeting that demand, with a new way for people to experience a destination or the city they call home:

  • In 2018, the number of seats booked on Airbnb Experiences increased nearly 7x, year over year.
  • In 2016, Airbnb Experiences launched with roughly 500 experiences. Today, more than 30,000 Experiences are available around the world.
  • While city expansion drove demand, Airbnb also grew its attach rate within cities; tripling the number of U.S. guests booking an Experience alongside a home.

Unique and High-Quality

More than 90% of all Experiences have five-star reviews, according to the company. Many of the Airbnb Experiences are not offered on any other major online platform. In a recent survey of guests who booked an Airbnb experience, 96% of surveyed guests said identifying a more local, authentic experience was a factor when booking with Airbnb, while 92% said their trust in the quality of Airbnb Experiences influenced their decision to book one.

An Economic Opportunity for Hosts

The growth of Airbnb Experiences also offers new ways for small entrepreneurs to market their time and experiences and talents. In the past, it was difficult for individuals to market and sell independent experiences to travelers. Airbnb has given entrepreneurs access to its global network and while the average person earned $2,500 per Airbnb Experience listed in 2018, some of Airbnb’s top hosts are earning more than $300,000 in a year from hosting Airbnb Experiences.

Food, Nature, Art, Animals

In the last two years, Airbnb has learned about the kind of experiences travelers are looking for, with food and dining, nature, art and animal-themed experiences such as visiting a sea turtle hospital in Miami or discovering arctic foxes, generating significant revenue for hosts. Understanding the opportunity presented by specialized categories such as these, Airbnb is making new investments in these areas. Airbnb recently hired new experts who specifically focus on growing the number of Airbnb Experiences related to food & drink and animals, respectively, while ensuring the Airbnb Experiences meet high-quality standards.

Social Impact Experiences

Social Impact Experiences empower non-profits by giving them a platform to fundraise and promote their mission, and by driving Airbnb users to engage in social causes around the globe. Each organization decides what Airbnb Experience will most help the communities they serve—whether it’s fundraising, building awareness, volunteering or all of the above—and Airbnb waives fees so that 100% of the proceeds go directly to the non-profit. With these experiences, Airbnb uses its global footprint and peer review system to support impactful organizations, often in neighborhoods that are not normally on the tourist map, including in underserved urban areas. To date, non-profits have raised almost $4 million by hosting a Social Impact Experience and more than 65,000 people have connected with a non-profit on an Airbnb Experience.

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