Following news of updates to its core Homes category, Airbnb has announced expansion of its fledgling Experiences marketplace.
In 2018, the company claims it will grow its Experiences internationally from 60 cities to 1,000 and is introducing new “Passion” categories to organize its activity offerings.
Among the Passion groups are Social Impact - experiences provided by nonprofits for which Airbnb takes $0 fees – as well as Social Dining (engaging travelers with one another over food), Adventures (full-day or multi-day excursions) and Concerts.
Airbnb Concerts, which launched today, will be intimate performances for typically less than 50 people held only at unique venues such as a wine cellar or recording studio.
Airbnb vice president of Trips Joe Zadeh says the company is “expanding the concept of hosting” and targeting high-quality Experiences hosts that meet expertise, locality and hospitality standards.
“People book the activity because the activity is interesting, but they love the experience because of the host,” he says.
Airbnb first mooted the idea of moving in on tours and activities with Experiences in late-2016, following a string low-key pilot programs in different markets to test different concepts.
Zadeh says the Experiences business is “going incredibly well” and is growing faster than the Homes segment at a rate of 2,500X year over year.
Some 50,000 applications have been submitted since the division launched, Airbnb claims, with annual incomes heading up as high as $200,000 for some hosts.
Future plans for the platform include integration with Airbnb’s upcoming Superguest program for reserved concert seats, as well as expansion into other types of performances such as comedy, opera, theater and poetry.
* Read the full "In The Big Chair" interview with CEO Brian Chesky, including more on the Experiences platform, next week. This reporter's attendance at the event was supported by Airbnb.