Home-sharing giant Airbnb will expand beyond accommodation with the launch of 'Trips' -- bringing together where you stay, what you do, and the people you meet all in one place.
With three million homes available to book across 191 countries, the company is shifting the focus from accommodation, instead aiming to empower hosts to share their hobbies, passions and local knowledge with guests in the form of 'experiences' and 'places'.
"Until now, Airbnb has been about homes. But around two years ago, we started to ask the question -- what does it actually mean to travel?" said Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, during his keynote speech at the Airbnb Open on Thursday in downtown Los Angeles.
"Travel is about the easy escape to magical worlds but in reality, you spend as much time planning the trip as going on the trip. We want to change that," Chesky said.
The announcement kicked off the company's annual three-day conference, where 6,000 hosts and guests will attend presentations about the future of hospitality from industry leaders and celebrities including Ashton Kutcher and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The new feature launches with three key areas -- Experiences, Places and Homes -- with plans to add Flights and Services in the future.
"We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip," Chesky said.
Experiences are handcrafted by locals and can be single activities like surfing with a local legend or an immersive multi-day experience like learning about and driving classic cars in Malibu.
The update is available from Thursday and 500 'experiences' will be available in 12 cities worldwide including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Nairobi, Cape Town, Tokyo and Seoul.
Chesky said there will also be social impact experiences on offer, hosted by non-profit organisations with 100 percent of profits going to that cause.
Places will be the company's answer to the TripAdvisor and Lonely Planets of the world, offering 'Insider Guidebooks' that reflect the recommendations of Airbnb hosts, neighborhood insiders and local influencers.
As well as suggesting an epic lookout or the best gelato, you'll also be able to book a table at a restaurant directly through the app. All of these elements will be organised into an itinerary for you in one simple timeline.
To shake things up even more, they'll offer audio walking tours and 'meet ups' which let local businesses host one-off or regular events for Airbnb guests and locals to connect with each other.
"Travel has never really been about where you go -- but who you can become and this is something that we would love to be able to build together -- we invite all of you to join us," Chesky said.
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