Lonely Planet Writer

From samurai lessons to violin-making; Airbnb to become your personal travel agent

In its quest for world domination, Airbnb has just launched a new Trips service to connect travellers with locals for unique experiences.

Airbnb Trips wants to connect travellers to locals for unique experiences.
Airbnb Trips wants to connect travellers to locals for unique experiences. Image by Getty

Airbnb Trips will allow users to book personal experiences with locals. These could be anything from tours, events, concerts or classes, and aim to provide the traveller with an immersive experience, living up to Airbnb’s ethos of living like locals. The function has already been beta-tested in cities like London, but from Friday will be offering more than 500 experiences in 12 different cities around the world. Some examples include violin-making in Paris, training with marathon runners in Nairobi and sparring with samurai masters in Japan. Visitors to Cape Town can even avail of a tour of Nelson Mandela’s cell given by his former prison warden, Jack Swart. Approximately 10% of the experiences on offer are designed to have a positive social impact on their communities, with the proceeds going to community organisations.

 

In addition, Airbnb has partnered with Resy, a restaurant booking platform, which will allow visitors to book their restaurant reservations through the Airbnb app. CEO Brian Chesky also revealed at the company’s annual conference, in Los Angeles, that they are planning to offer flights and other services in the future. The expansion into Airbnb Trips also brings with it additional security measures. Both hosts and guests will have to scan in a government-issued ID and a photograph of themselves into the system, which will be reviewed to confirm the identity of the user. The proposed expansions come at a time when the company is under increased restrictions in major cities like New York and Berlin with many other tourist hot-spots like Iceland following suit.