Lonely Planet Writer

Co-founder hints at Airbnb expansion beyond the world of accommodation

Airbnb might not be content with being one of the biggest accommodation companies in the world as the co-founder recently signalled it may move into providing other leisure activities.

Priscilla and her family are just one example of hosts that could benefit from the possible expansion.
Priscilla and her family are just one example of hosts that could benefit from the possible expansion. Image by Airbnb Facebook

Co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said in a conversation with the BBC the company was looking to expand its platform to connect travellers with hosts willing to give tours, play sports, ride a bike or any other number of leisure activities.  The company was founded on the idea of renting a spare room in a local’s house while travelling and is designed to appeal to travellers looking for a more ‘authentic’ experience and make personal connections. “We’re thinking beyond accommodation” Blecharczyk said. “”What are the sort of things people are doing outside their home? How can we help them to better connect with the local spots, the local people?”

It will undoubtedly be a worry to some smaller companies and start-ups who offer similar services. For example, BonAppetour aims to connect travellers with home restaurants while GuideHop allows local guides to offer tours. Indeed, often such websites are referred to as the ‘Airbnb for…’ but Airbnb themselves may soon offer these kind of services.

The news comes at a time when Airbnb is facing increasing restrictions from some of the world’s most popular cities for travellers, including Berlin, New York and London. Despite this, the company will have the advantage of a larger platform for any new services they decide to provide. They’re currently in more than 34,000 cities across 191 countries with two million listings already available.