By Michelle Castillo
Airbnb wants to be the tool you use to plan your entire vacation.
The company announced on Thursday its latest division, Airbnb Adventures. Unlike renting a local home or going out on a day trip with people from the area, these fully-inclusive, multi-day experiences led by a local guide allow travelers to immerse themselves in the area’s culture.
At launch, the company will have more than 200 Adventures ranging from stays in Indiana Amish farm country to camping on a cliff in Colorado to tracking lions with Kenyan warriors. Each Adventure will have up to 12 people, and range in price from $79 for one night to $5,000 for a 10-day experience. On average, most trips are about $588 for a three-day excursion. Flights are not included, but all transfers, lodging, meals, and designated activities at the destination are.
The international adventure travel business was worth over $683 billion in 2017 according to the Adventure Travel Tourism Association, an increase of 21 percent from 2012. This new initiative allows Airbnb to expand into areas it might not have had rentals or that are not-as-frequented regions.
Airbnb worked with the Adventure Travel Tourism Association to create guidelines to vet the hosts, and the packages also come with insurance for travelers in case of emergencies. Most activities are for people 18 and older, and each Adventure comes with a detailed description of activity levels necessary to complete the itinerary.
Cheddar spoke to Caroline Boone, head of Airbnb Adventures, for more details.
*How does Airbnb Adventures differ from Airbnb Experiences? *
Where our core offering for experiences today are a couple of hours up to day, these are really the end-to-end trips. This includes the activities, organizing the accommodations and meals once you’re in that destination.
Was Airbnb seeing a demand from its customer base for more inclusive trips?
This idea of end-to-end travel has always been something interesting to us, that you really immerse guests in locations through the eyes of local hosts. It’s always been something near and dear to us, and something we’re passionate to promote. It felt the timing was right because Airbnb Experiences has been so successful, it felt it was the right time to go a little deeper and a little more immersive.
How is this different from a travel agency, an industry which some research has indicated is on the decline?
These are different because every trip that you’ll see at Airbnb at launch is created and hosted by a local who lives in that location.
When people think adventure travel, most people think extreme sports. This seems to be more experiences you can enjoy on a variety of activity levels. Were you seeing a certain demographic tend towards this kind of experiential travel?
I think millennials trend towards experiences over things. I think while there is a very established adventure industry that is incredible ー and it’s such a powerful way to travel ー we wanted to make that style of travel more available to people.
How do you see this furthering Airbnb’s business overall?
One thing that’s super interesting for Adventures is the ability for us to unlock new destinations for Airbnb. Some that we have in the platform are in Mongolia. We’re working with the community in Mongolia to create end-to-end trips that let people to explore that area. We haven’t really done too much in a lot of regions that we’re opening Adventures, so it expands the reach of Airbnb.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.