Airbnb first became the number one site for vacation rentals. Now the company has expanded its offerings with a new platform called Airbnb Experiences. Launched a little over a year ago, Airbnb Experiences is bringing local flavor to travelers who use Airbnb. At the same time, it’s also providing a new source of revenue for Airbnb hosts.
Here is a brief overview of the Airbnb Experiences platform and why it’s thriving for both guests and hosts.
Airbnb Experiences are activities that are designed to engage guests during their stay in a particular location. They are led and inspired by locals in each area. They are more than just traditional guided tours or classes. In fact, they are designed for anyone that uses the Airbnb platform to share their creative passions with the world.
The platform doesn’t only serve a single market. While some travelers use it to meet new people others use it as a way to discover local activities while traveling. In fact, Airbnb Experiences appeals to group travelers, as well as, solo travelers.
Airbnb Experiences is a separate service on Airbnb from Airbnb property hosting. To host an experience, Airbnb Experiences hosts don’t have to host overnight guests at a property. Airbnb Experiences hosts also are free to host as often as they like with no maximum hosting restrictions.
However, one thing that both platforms have in common is that hosts on either platform may be required to obtain a business license. This is especially true if the Airbnb Experience involves food, alcohol or transportation.
The platform originally launched in New York City in 2016 with an inventory of 150 Experiences. However, it was soon expanded to include major cities around the world. So far, the platform has benefited Airbnb because they have been allowed to operate the Experiences platform in cities where there are significant restrictions or even outright bans on Airbnb property rentals.
According to CEO Brian Chesky, as of October 2017, Airbnb Experiences had growth 12x in size from January 2017. In comparison to the Airbnb property business, Chesky says that Experiences is growing at a pace that is roughly 13 times faster than the Airbnb rental property business was at the same time.
As far as earnings, Chesky reported at Airbnb Experience’s social impact experiences brought in $500k in 2017. Across the platform, guests pay an average of $55 per booking.
However, most of the Experiences business is just starting to gain traction. Chesky says that he expects that it will be another few years before Airbnb Experiences becomes a major component of the company’s overall business model as the property rentals currently are.
As of 2018, there are more than 3,100 Experiences on the platform in 40 cities across 26 countries. For guests looking to partake in an Airbnb Experience, there are several categories of Experiences available on the Airbnb platform. These categories include:
For any given location, Airbnb uses a special “Experiences in the spotlight” section of the Experiences page to highlight trending and new Experiences on its platform. Users can search for spotlight Airbnb Experiences in Paris, Toronto, New York City, Barcelona, and other major cities around the world.
Currently, Food & Drink Experiences are the most popular Experiences on the platform, accounting for 29% percent of all bookings. Barcelona tops the list as Airbnb’s most popular market for Experiences.
Airbnb also published a list of its most popular Experiences from October through November 2017. These Experiences were:
Although Airbnb Experiences hosts don’t have to rent properties, Airbnb hosts who already use Airbnb can join Experiences to make even more money. As an Airbnb host, it’s likely that you already obtained the necessary licensing required to run a business in your city.
As a result, adding an Airbnb Experience is a great way to bring in additional income. Not only can you promote the Airbnb Experience on its own, you can also promote it to your property rental guests. Let them know that you offer an Airbnb Experience and you can sell it as an upgrade to your property listing.
Here’s why you’ll benefit from becoming both an Airbnb Experiences host and an Airbnb property host:
Firstly, having you as a property host and as their local tour guide for the city makes things easy and convenient for guests. It will also give them peace of mind knowing that you will be in the vicinity to show them around their new destination.
Secondly, Airbnb Experiences hosts benefit from the fact that they can hosts more guests on one occasion. While a property listing may only be able to accommodate one or a couple of guests at a time, an Airbnb Experience can easily be hosted by an entire group.
To get started with Airbnb Experiences, hosts must apply and be manually approved by Airbnb. Airbnb also takes a commission of 20% of the fee per Experience charged to guests from the hosts.
Although the commission for Airbnb Experiences is higher than the commission for Airbnb property rentals. Chesky says that Airbnb Experiences hosts benefit, even with the higher commission fee, because they can host more frequently than with property rentals.
Hosts must also meet some stringent requirements when it comes to feedback. Airbnb follows up with guests on a case-by-case basis if a guest leaves less than a five-star review for an Airbnb Experience. As a result, hosts may need to work even harder to maintain stellar ratings and maintain their presence in Airbnb Experiences.
Whether or not you should use Airbnb Experiences really depends on your background. If you have a strong desire to start a business based on a creative hobby or skill, then it might be a good choice for you. If you want to increase your earnings from Airbnb and you have what it takes, Airbnb Experiences is something that you should definitely look into.