The Ultimate Experiences

As Covid-19 endures, so do our lack of travel plans, empty pages in travel journals, piled up frequent flier miles. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t get out and see the world. In fact, one of the most notable and on-trend travel companies—Airbnb—tipped the travel world on its side again. The ultimate Experiences brand goes much further than a host putting their house up for rent. According to Airbnb, their Experiences are unique, memorable activities designed and hosted by locals that go beyond typical tours or workshops. From in-the-know hidden city tours to more adventurous fire-eating lessons. They provide immersion into the hosts’ passions and interests, and provide a different way to experience a destination. And now they are online.

The Ultimate Experiences

Experiences launched in 2016 with about 500 programs. The platform grew to well over 50,000 Experiences in more than 1,000 cities globally in just a few years. And then the pandemic hit. And shelter-in-place orders, closed borders and fear of spreading covid did as well. All bringing dreams of travel and many of the ultimate Experiences to a standstill. A quick pivot by Airbnb, however, seamlessly transitioned Experiences to Online Experiences in April 2020. All of a sudden, guests had unprecedented access to travel virtually, from home in categories ranging from Great for Groups, Family Friendly, Animals, Arts & Writing, Baking, Cooking, Dancing, Entertainment, Social Impact, Drinks, Wellness and more.

“We knew guests were looking for unique and authentic things to do while traveling and we launched Airbnb Experiences in 2016 to meet that need,” explains Catherine Powell, Global Head of Hosting at Airbnb. “But then travel stopped and people were isolated and we identified a new need. We created Online Experiences in just 14 days to help people connect, travel virtually and earn income during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Chef Rōze Traore

Chef Rōze Traore dish

Wide Ranging Interests

And hosts and clients alike have connected with the plethora of amazing activities too numerous to name. (A few favorites include Master Chef classes, Tango Lessons by Agrentinian Experts, Drawing with a New York Artist, Meditation with a Buddhist Japanese Monk, Mezcal and Tequila Cocktail Masterclass and a Family Magic Show and Lesson—and by the way, with some prices as low as $7 per person for an hour Experience.)

Guided meditation with sleep sheep

In fact, clients have loved the Online Experiences so much that Airbnb has teamed up with specialty partners. There are  Michelin star chefs who offer personalized online cooking classes. The Bumble dating app to up the romance for first dates and beyond. And some celebrities as well as world renowned authors. This summer, with people still staying at home to protect themselves and their communities, Airbnb expanded the Experience platform even further. They partnered with the Olympics, Paralympics, Broadway Shows, IGLTA for Pride Week and more. This new platform has kept people plenty busy, especially at a time when the need was equally as important as the want.

Ashley Wagner

Allyson Felix/Getty Images courtesy of Airbnb

Virtual Travel

Online Experiences is Airbnb’s fastest-growing product to date,” states Powell, “and we are delighted with the opportunities it creates for our hosts and our guests. As travel comes back, it will look different. We are confident about the role Online Experiences will continue to play, even as in-person Experiences reopen where it is safe and permissible to do so. Airbnb Experiences was created to foster connection between people. We are still committed to that mission—whether in virtual or live form.”

And slowly, as select governments have re-opened their countries to travelers, in-person Experiences have restarted. And Airbnb safety and cleaning initiatives are in place. They now require face coverings and social distancing for all. Airbnb is limited group sizes. Education on safety requirements is a must as is  cleaning protocol for those Experiences hosted in a private space.

So whether you ultimately go on an Adventure to the Secret Islands in Indonesia or get set to share Sangria and Secrets with Drag Queens from home, you will definitely be making some of the most Experience-worthy memories, ever.

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