Worldwide accommodations provider Airbnb is set on improving its Experiences service as it strives to expand on its sources of revenue. The move comes as a response to various regulations and government pressures that the company has faced the past year.
The company, based in San Francisco, California, is set to book thousands of travelers worldwide every month and are expecting to get their new service to a profitable level late next year. Airbnb is pushing to expand their offerings to not just rooms and houses for rent as the company is now eyeing to be a complete travel company. They announced this plan last year and have added quite a number of innovative features and services such as the ability to reserve restaurants or book excursions to go to local tourist spots.
The bold move was a response to regulations and government pressure that the company had to deal with in various areas of their operations. In fact, in some cities, Airbnb was forced to close its primary business of renting apartments to travelers. The company is hoping that their new business additions will take over their core business of house rentals. They also plan to shift their means of revenue to something that is harder for governments to restrict while being open to universal regulations.
Better Experiences Good For Overall Growth
Airbnb has already booked more than 260 million rooms and houses for rent since the company opened in August 2008. Experiences is one of four separate units within the company and projections are positive that it will become profitable to the company by the end of the year.
Airbnb’s Experiences is a service that lets people book a tour or a guide on local attractions with a local resident hosting and manning the activity or tour. Since the guide is an expert in the locale, the experience will be more genuine compared to a tour conducted by a third party group that simply employs guides from other places. Airbnb expects that by the second quarter of the year, they will be on track to get one million bookings. According to a company spokesperson, the estimate is a very humble projection as it does not assume that the service and company will grow even more.
Experiences offers more than 5,000 tours in over 50 cities all over the world. It offers a wide and varied list ranging from lessons on how kimonos are made in Tokyo; wine-tasting in California; and any local activity that a tourist could ever dream of doing. It also has unorthodox tours such as blowing-glass in Chicago and discovering hidden stairways that can only be found by a San Francisco local.
Before the year ends, Airbnb will add 25,000 more tours and experiences to their already impressive list. The company will charge the host of the tour a small 20% fee while the remaining 80% will be entirely for the host. This is in contrast to their rental service of only 3% since they get 15% from the guests as reservation fees.
Experiences will have a bold impact in the travel and tourism industry and ultimately change how people travel. Instead of going to tourist spots and well-photographed attractions, people will focus on the journey and in turn, gain a more profound experience of the place and its people.