While accommodation is one of the first things people look for when planning for their travel, many people travel primarily for local experiences. Airbnb recognizes this and as you might be aware, they introduced ‘Airbnb Experiences’ in 2016 which allows users to host activities, tours and classes, and users can book directly on the platform.
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What are the pros and cons?
Nowadays, people seek for authenticity. Airbnb Experiences started off by reaching out to the locals on things to do in their cities. It adds a personal touch, rather than the usual “top things to do” recommended by tour guides, where many would be deemed as tourist traps. That sets Airbnb Experiences apart from other booking platforms. Furthermore, it is always helpful for travelers to be able to book both their accommodations and activities for their trips through the same platform. As for the hosts, they can be getting paid for doing something that they love, be it introducing their hobby or simply the engagement with people. It may also help to bring more guests to their rental properties listed on Airbnb through those experiences.
However, the downside of Airbnb Experiences is that they may not be available in all regions. It is dependent on the interest of the locals and in some places, it may be hard to get them to be involved. Having said that, the authenticity and unique experiences of those activities may be what attracts people, so it can be a double-edge sword. Since the experiences offered are based on personal interests and passion of the hosts, it may be hard to keep track of their quality of service in delivering the services. On the other hand, for the local hosts, they may worry about the volume of people visiting their city. If it is not a popular city, there may not be people interested in engaging in the experiences they offer. There could also be language barriers between the hosts and guests.
How has the response been?
68% of the travelers regard food and drinks as the most important component of travel, as mentioned in an article by Eater. Hence, Airbnb Experiences have included more than 3000 experiences in cooking-related activities. Other popular experiences are horse yoga, mindful movement (meditating and hiking), Nama’ Tastings (wine and yoga), Carb Feast (pizza and pasta), tie dye classes and historical walking tours. Airbnb came up with a list of the trending cities to visit in 2019 and the top 3 cities are Kaikoura in New Zealand, Xiamen in China and Puebla in Mexico.
Airbnb Experiences also opened up business opportunities for countries where STRs are not allowed. For example, in Singapore, the government banned short term stays and the minimum period of stay is 6 months. With the launch of Airbnb Experiences, local hosts can make revenue through this channel.
How has COVID-19 affected Airbnb Experiences?
With Covid-19, Airbnb Experiences adapted with the situation. They shifted their target to the domestic market and added more online activities. As of May 2020, there were 300 online experiences on the platform. Some of the popular online experiences include “Sangria and Secrets with Drag Queens” in Lisbon, Portugal with $150k of revenue in their first month and “Tarot Reading with Mak Jagger” in Austin, Texas with $11k of revenue in one month.
However, there are still hosts who are unable to transition to the channels online. It may be due to many reasons like not having a stable internet connection in their region, the hosts not being tech-savvy or the experience is simply too difficult to be carried out online. Such hosts are solely dependent on the domestic market for as long as the Covid-19 situation persists.
Airbnb Experiences has grown 13 times faster than their rental property business, making a revenue of more than $1 billion in the second quarter of 2019. If you’re looking for a creative way to increase your revenue, it’s worth considering hosting Airbnb Experiences. You may just find something that the market is willing to spend money on, be it online or physically. The first step is always a gamble as to the feasibility of the ideas but with some time, things get easier and better!
But before you start advertising your Experience package, you might want to consider whether you have enough visitors visiting your city to engage in the experiences you are offering. Airbtics provides close to real-time data on the number of visitors visiting any specified cities, as well as booking rate, occupancy rate, pricing strategies and other customizable data that may be useful boosting your revenue. With Airbtics data, you can have a better grasp of the market and decide what types of experience you can offer. If you are not able to shift your experiences online, it is even more important to know your market and competitors well, which will help you better plan your next move in boosting your revenue.