Airbnb revealed a revamped version of its app at the company's annual conference for hosts in Los Angeles that expands the services offered beyond only booking rooms.
The Airbnb app, in addition to a "Homes" section that contains its popular room rental service, will now also be featuring sections named "Experiences" and "Places."
What Is Airbnb Experiences?
Airbnb's Experiences section contains the "Trips" program, which will allow customers to book activities that they would like to do as part of their travel plans. The activities are presented with a short trailer and images inspired by vintage movie posters.
Some of the activities that customers can book are stand-alone ones, such as having a host take the travelers to an unknown but amazing place to hang out, while other activities will require multiple days to complete, such as going to several great spots for dirt biking. In total, about 500 such activities, half of which are priced below $200, are now available for customers to sign up to in 12 cities all over the world. The list of cities includes San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Paris, London, Seoul and Tokyo, with Airbnb to add more cities in the future.
"Trips" will have the security feature of having both hosts and customers verify their identities through scanning government-issued IDs and taking selfies. Airbnb will receive a 20 percent share for the costs of the activities, much higher than the 3 percent the company takes for room rentals, though the rate would be different if the host is a nonprofit organization.
What Is Airbnb Places?
The "Places" section of Airbnb, meanwhile, is an expanded version of the app's Guidebooks feature. Through it, customers will be able to access tips and recommendations provided by locals and travel experts when visiting a city. However, the number of cities wherein this feature is offered is limited to six, namely San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Nairobi, Seoul and Havana, but there are 100 guidebooks in total available.
Airbnb has also forged a partnership with startup Detour to offer walking audio tours to travelers. The first audio tours have been made available to Los Angeles, with plans to add more for San Francisco, London, Paris, Seoul and Tokyo by spring.
Additionally, travelers could also look through possible meet-up places in establishments around the city that they are visiting where they would be able to meet with hosts in the area and other Airbnb guests.
What's Next for Airbnb?
It was hinted that Airbnb Flights, which will allow Airbnb to already be present at the very start of the travel plans of customers, will soon debut.
Airbnb is also planning to further expand what it offers to travelers, including offering bookings for car rentals, reservations for restaurants and delivering groceries.