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.
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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.
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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?"