Airbnb expands by allowing city dwellers become tour guides to paying visitors

The travel site is launching 'Trips', which connects tourists with locals for experiences lasting up to three days

Airbnb expands by allowing city dwellers become tour guides to paying visitors

[Airbnb]

Despite coming in for a lot of negative press over its contribution to housing crises across urban centres all over the world, Airbnb has revealed new plans to expand – looking beyond the short-term holiday rental market to becoming an all-encompassing travel firm. First up, as part of its new feature Trips, Airbnb will seek to connect tourists with locals who can offer guided tours in their cities lasting from as short as a couple of hours to a few days.

The ambitious plan is part of Airbnb’s move to make visiting a city a more localised experience, with residents guiding visitors to a more authentic side of a town and avoid the pitfalls of tourist traps.

Trips makes a major change for the company, with the company now looking to form financial partnerships with people all over the world who do not host guests in their homes.

At the moment, the experience options are limited to just 12 cities, with roughly 500 to choose from across Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Nairobi, Cape Town, Tokyo and Seoul. Visitors can scroll through the options much like they do when searching for a place to stay, with options varying from three-day surfing trips to cheese tasting and night-time photography lessons.

“We want to make sure it’s something that helps travellers connect to the destination they’re staying in. We’re looking for things where it can be centred around a passion or a neighbourhood, something that really helps travellers immerse in the experience of staying in the place that they are,” Mike Curtis, Airbnb’s vice president of product, told Mashable.

While many of the experiences cost in the hundreds, Airbnb says half of them are less than $200 (€189). Residents in cities looking to upload an experience must first be vetted by Airbnb staff in order to make sure that the trips and events meet the company’s benchmark for quality and safety.

Despite no Irish cities being listed yet, those interested in offering experiences can register their interest with Airbnb.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a community-driven marketplace that provide opportunities for tourists and travellers to rent short-term accommodation in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries.

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