Airbnb to Offer Add-On Travel Services Later This Year To live like a local, you need more than just a furnished apartment.
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Business travelers who spend the majority of their time on the road have a catch-22 when it comes to lodging. While staying at an Airbnb listing would offer the comforts and ambiance of home instead of the loneliness of a generic hotel room, a hotel has a concierge to help find worthwhile things to do and places to go after the work day is finished.
But the accommodations startup may soon offer a way to have the benefits of both at once.
Airbnb plans to present add-on services later this year, Bloomberg reports. Brian Chesky, Airbnb's CEO, says the company has been testing a booking service for any add-on experiences -- what the company calls "magical trips" as a nod to Chesky's idol, Walt Disney -- for guest experiences outside of their temporary lodgings. Experiences including booking art gallery tours, bicycle rentals and restaurant reservations have been tested.
Customers will be able to book these experiences when they book a room on Airbnb. This feature is expected to be available later this year, anonymous sources told Bloomberg. A source also said that launching this program was a top priority for the company and that Chesky and VP of product Joe Zadeh are overseeing the project.
Last year, Airbnb raised an additional $1.5 billion, and the Wall Street Journal stated in November that the company raised another $100 million on top of that. Its valuation is a reported $25.5 billion. The company has an aggressive revenue goal of $10 billion annually by 2020 but with media outlets reporting that the San Francisco-based business likely took a $150 million loss in 2015, Airbnb has to think of additional ways to bring in revenue. It currently makes 3 percent per booking, plus 6 to 12 percent from guests.
The home-rental company will face competitors such as Vayable, TripAdvisor's Tripbod and ToursByLocals in the experience space, which focus on giving travelers a local's insights to hotspots and attractions. Websites such as Expedia also offer customers the opportunity to sign up for various activities during their trips.
This seems to be a natural next step for Airbnb. While competitors offer the ability to rent cars when booking a room, Chesky is after more than just convenience. "When people go to a place, they want much more than just a home. They want to be part of a neighborhood," he told Bloomberg in a television interview. "And what we are really focused on doing is, how can we immerse you into a neighborhood?"