Just over a decade ago the Airbnb website started listing holiday lets. Eight years later the company put out an exploratory venture into local tourism with Airbnb Experiences. Now Airbnb is getting adventurous.
From today the San Francisco accommodation app is selling multi-day experiences and holiday packages targeting the adventure tourism market.
With multi-day holidays such as a Galapagos Slow Food Safari, or a Colorado cliff camp – the packages include activities, accommodation and even food.
It's calling the business 'Airbnb Adventures' and is yet another sign of the company's ambitions to become a one-stop-shop for tourism and travel.
In 2016 the company began pursuing the trend for experiential travel, creating a marketplace for local tour and activity operators. It's fair to say that Airbnb was fairly timid in its roll out of 'Experiences' which arrived in New Zealand in August 2018.
However with now over 1000 cities included in the app – the experience experiment appears to have worked and Airbnb are ready to move onto their next phase of 'shared-economy' world domination.
True to its name Airbnb Adventures has been far more intrepid – jumping in with both feet to the 'adventure travel' industry - the new category is available globally.
At launch the website has over 200 packages available worldwide, with more in the pipeline.
"Getting access to epic and transformational travel has never been easier," said Joe Zadeh, Vice President of Experiences at Airbnb.
The ambitious Adventures project builds on Experiences but "instead of just for a few hours, they now have the option to be fully switch-off, push themselves out of their comfort zones," he said.
Falling back on the same model that made the short-term letting platform a success, Airbnb Adventures looks to become a market place for locally-based adventure travel operators to offer their wares via the app.
The Adventure Tourism market was valued in 2017 at over US$683 (NZ$1040) billion worldwide, and growing. Understandably 'adventure' or 'experiential' -style holidays are an area the tech company are wanting to move into.
Curiously the Adventure Travel Trade Association – the same organisation that gave such a glowing valuation for the adventure travel market – also described the key adventure tourism demographic as in the 50-70 'Baby Boomer' generation. In fact the average Adventure Travel customer is getting older. The demographic aged from 47 in 2017 to 49 years old in 2018.
As a company more Millennial-friendly than pastel-pink and shared Netflix subscriptions, Airbnb sees the adventure travel sector as an area ripe with opportunity to leverage a younger customer base. Offering experiences ranging from a $120 overnight trip a to $7620 adventure safaris, Adventures uses the same quick convenience-style app to sell these holiday packages as it does accommodation. Adventure travel is about to get app-ified.
To mark the launch of Airbnb's new venture into uncharted tourism territory the company has come up with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Following in the footsteps of fictional adventurer Phileas Fogg – the company has revamped Jules Verne's classic novel Around the World in Eighty Days with a modern twist. Knitting together a 12 week itinerary from the international community, the experience is a world tour with proceeds going to the Malala Yousafzai Fund.
The 80-day trip includes stops in 18 countries, and eight modes of transport. Yes, this includes a hot air balloon. This experience will be available to book for a limited few spaces from June 20th.
This London to London trip via the long way around will surely be an adventure to remember, but at $7367 per seat, it's a hot air balloon ride that's not to be taken lightly