Airbnb announced that it will now offer Experiences that are entirely digital so people who are practicing social distancing and staying at home can find activities to do remotely. The new Airbnb Online Experiences offers activities like bartending and cooking classes, virtual bike tours, Korean makeup tutorials, fortune reading, comedy shows, and drawing lessons.
When it launched in 2016, Airbnb Experiences was part of the company’s foray into transforming the rental platform into a full-fledged travel company. It offered tours, events, and activities hosted by local individuals and companies in cities around the world. Experiences was put on pause after major cities began closing nonessential businesses due to the pandemic and traveling, in general, declined. But the company is hoping that the online-only relaunch might give those at home something to do while giving local hosts a new source of income while their usual tours are temporarily shuttered. (Before today’s launch, various fitness instructors, musicians, and actors had begun hosting free classes and concerts online via Zoom, Twitch, IGTV, and YouTube.)
Each experience range from a few bucks to up to $65 per person per activity. Airbnb says hosts will still pay a cut of the Experience commission to the company as they did before to cover service fees and liability insurance, though the company has not yet clarified what this insurance covers with regards to digital-based classes.
In addition to classes and activities by local hosts, Airbnb has also partnered with a few organizations to offer free live activities catered toward elders who are at higher risks of contracting the virus to help them stay engaged while they are sheltering at home. Classes are hosted on Zoom, and Airbnb is providing approved hosts with paid access for free.