Trips from Airbnb – Offering a holistic travel experience

You have the accommodation, but what do you do when you arrive at your holiday destination? For many people this involves scouring tourist guides and brochures, and visiting the main tourist attractions, while missing out on a real local experience.

To solve this problem, Airbnb has launched Trips, a service which allows you to experience your destination as a local, with locals, and South Africa is one of the countries included in this initiative. So far there are 12 cities that have implemented Trips.

The launch of Trips shifts the focus from simply offering accommodation, to making the entire trip “easy and magical”. This concept expands the notion of hosting to include and empower people to share their interests, hobbies and passions.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and co-founder, said at the launch: “Until now, Airbnb has been about homes. Today, Airbnb is launching Trips, bringing together where you stay, what you do, and the people you meet all in one place. We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip.”

What is Trips?

According to Airbnb, this new platform looks to integrate the various aspects of your trip, including your accommodation, experiences and activities, and the people you meet. “Trips is a people-powered platform designed to make travel both easy and magical,” explains the company.

There are three key areas that Trips focuses on, Experiences, Places and Homes. In the future, Airbnb is looking at adding flights and services to this offering as well.

As a tourist, one generally sticks to the normal tourist activities of visiting museums and the famous tourist attractions. Trips plans to change this, by allowing travellers to immerse themselves into the communities they are visiting.

The company notes: “Trips will make travel magical again by immersing travellers in communities around the world. Get unprecedented access to local passions and interests, like violin making in Paris or marathon running in Kenya; discover the hidden gems that only locals know about via personal recommendations; and socialise with other travellers and locals at exciting events. Add that to three million bookable homes, and Airbnb becomes the one place to go for a truly different kind of travel experience.”

Ease of planning

The idea of launching Trips is to make the entire travel experience effortless and enjoyable. The Airbnb app now allows you to book your accommodation, together with any experiences you want to enjoy or places you would like to visit.

However, this service is currently only available in 12 cities. They are:

  1. Cape Town
  2. Los Angeles
  3. San Francisco
  4. Miami
  5. Detroit
  6. Havana
  7. London
  8. Paris
  9. Florence
  10. Tokyo
  11. Seoul
  12. Nairobi

“Booking travel today can be complicated and stressful. With Trips, Airbnb aims to make it easy with one app to book most of your travel needs. Trip Itinerary is a new feature that brings together everything the traveller needs to know into one simple timeline, with the ability to easily book and add Experiences or things to do,” says Airbnb.

Experiences

Through ‘Experiences’, you are able to enjoy handcrafted activities that have been designed and are led by local experts. “Be it a single activity like a Samurai Swordplay workshop or an immersive multi-day experience like learning about and driving classic cars in Malibu. Experiences offer unprecedented access and deep insights into communities and places that you wouldn’t otherwise come across,” explains Airbnb.

Not all experiences will be about you. For those wanting to give back, there are a number of experiences that allow you to give back to communities through non-profit organisations.

Places

This category of the Airbnb app includes guidebooks, meet ups and audio walks. ‘Places’ highlights the recommendations of Airbnb hosts, neighbourhood insiders and local influencers.

Airbnb reveals: “With Insider Guidebooks, Airbnb has identified cultural experts and neighbourhood insiders to recommend the hidden gems within their city. Find the perfect run from a marathoner, the best dive bar from a local mixologist and the next great undiscovered restaurant from an up-and-coming chef. 100 Insider Guidebooks will be available at launch in six cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Havana, Nairobi, Detroit and Seoul – with more coming soon.”

A partnership with Resy, a restaurant booking platform, will make it possible, in the future, for travellers to book tables at local restaurants directly through the Airbnb app.

The Meet ups category allows Airbnb travellers to engage socially with other travellers and locals. “Meet ups within Places will let local businesses host one-off or regular events for Airbnb guests and locals to connect with each other.”

Making money from Trips

People initially only made money through Airbnb through renting out their homes or rooms but now they can make money through the ‘Trips’ section too. If you are looking to host an Experience, you can request to do so on the Airbnb website. This is available to hosts in the 12 cities mentioned above, with a further 39 cities worldwide having the ability to list a host experience.

Authentication

In a world where scams and fraud are not uncommon, it is important to ensure the company or service you are paying for or using is legitimate. And when it comes to renting out or hosting other people in your home, it is also important to know who those people are. Airbnb is aware of the importance of identity authentication.

“The launch of Trips also sees the introduction of a new identity authentication process that the Airbnb Experiences Community will be using. Hosts and guests will be asked to scan an official government ID (for example a passport, or driving license) and then take a simple selfie. After the ID is authenticated, the ID and selfie will be reviewed to confirm that both pictures appear to match,” explains Airbnb.

According to the company, this vigorous authentication process will make the Airbnb community stronger, while also reaffirming its commitment to “authenticity, reliability, and security.”

This authentication process will be required of all Experiences users, and is currently being tested with home bookings. “Trips also leverages Airbnb’s existing Trust & Safety measures including a 250+ person global 24/7 support team, secure payments, messaging, profiles & reviews, and a new $1 million liability insurance program for eligible Experience hosts,” adds Airbnb.