Airbnb, as most players in the hospitality industry, is feeling its share of the COVID-19 pain as travelers cancel plans and global movement comes to a halt. Yet, the online home-focused lodging company is finding a way to keep comfort alive, whether it is in a traveler’s own home or the home of a host.
Last week, Airbnb launched Online Experiences, a new way for people to connect, travel virtually and earn income during the COVID-19 crisis. With communities around the world staying home to protect their own health and the health of others, people can’t pursue routine activities like going to work, exercising or pursuing a passion. Now, Online Experiences will change that by allowing bringing transformative virtual Experiences offered by hosts to millions of would-be guests.
Airbnb Experiences offers an array of options like meditation with Buddhist monks, virtual visits with the dogs of Chernobyl, cooking with a Moroccan family, and more. With so many people sheltering in place, Online Experiences provides:
• New activities for families to explore like learning the secrets of magic
• Options for work colleagues who want to reconnect and bond with team activities like making coffee with a professional coffee taster
• Features for groups looking to celebrate birthdays or get togethers privately and the option to request specific dates for Experiences like bartending with experts
Online Experiences provides a bridge for unprecedented access to inspiring host-created experiences in more than 30 different countries – sessions with Olympic medalists Alistair Brownlee and Lauren Gibbs are among them. Whether it’s a HIIT workout, learning about nutrition with a Bobsledder or a virtual bike tour, guests can now connect with some of the most celebrated athletes in the world from the comforts of their own living room.
“Human connection is at the core of what we do,” says Catherine Powell, Head of Airbnb Experiences. “With so many people needing to stay indoors to protect their health, we want to provide an opportunity for our hosts to connect with our global community of guests in the only way possible right now, online.”
To help those who are most isolated, such as older adults, Airbnb has partnered with local organizations around the world to curate Experiences for their communities to be able to learn a new skill while protecting their health.
Airbnb will work alongside the following to offer Experiences free of charge:
• SAGE, The world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older people
• National Council on Aging (NCOA), a respected national leader and trusted partner in the US helping people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging
• Associazione Nazionale Alpini – Sezione di Milan, veterans of the most respected and trustworthy military corp in Italy
• Amigos de los Mayores, an organization combating unwanted loneliness and social isolation amongst the elderly in Spain
Booking is open with more than 50 virtual Airbnb Experiences available at airbnb.com/online-experiences, with thousands more coming online in the coming months.
Airbnb Experiences launched in 2016 as memorable activities designed and hosted by locals that go beyond typical tours or workshops. With Airbnb’s ‘in-person’ Experiences suspended through the end of April, Airbnb is leveraging its technology platform to allow guests to learn a new skill, safely connect with others, or pursue an interest.
Highlights of Online Experiences include:
* Meditation with a Japanese Buddhist Monk (Osaka, Japan)
* Secrets of Magic (London, United Kingdom)
* Mystical Coffee and Fortune Reading (New York, New York)
* Quarantinis, GINspiration at Home (Bath, United Kingdom)
* Learn to Cook Mexican Salsas (Mexico City, Mexico)
* Irish Dance Masterclass (Galway, Ireland)
* Remote Rescue Goats (Catskills, New York)
* Virtual Bike Tour with 2x Gold Medalist Triathlete – Alistair Brownlee (Yorkshire, United Kingdom)
* Sonoma Ricotta Cheese Making and More (Sonoma, California)
* Guided Meditation with Sleepy Sheep (Loch Lomond, United Kingdom)
* Grandma’s Pasta (Rome, Italy)
* Coffee Lessons with National Judge (Mexico City, Mexico)
* Family Baking Experience (San Francisco, California)
* K-BEAUTY 101 with a TV Host (Seoul, South Korea)
* Dogs of Chernobyl (Chernobyl, Ukraine)
* Join a Rollerskating Dance Party (Brooklyn, New York)
* Cooking Class with Moroccan Family (Marrakech, Morocco)
* Make the Perfect Chinese Steamed Bun (Singapore)
* Interior Design Workshop (San Francisco, California)
* Sketch with a NYC Artist (New York, New York)
* Swedish Pastries with a Professional Baker (Stockholm, Sweden)
* Day in the Life of an Olympic Bobsledder (Los Angeles, California)