Airbnb augments in-person ‘experiences’ with virtual ones

Tribune Content Agency

Much to the dismay of adventure seekers and wanderers, travel is not advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention right now. Luckily, Airbnb has devised an alternative for those looking to have worldly experiences from the comfort of their home.

Airbnb’s “Experiences” normally give travelers unique tours of new cities, exciting group hikes, up-close animal encounters or personal cooking demos, among other things. But in the absence of opportunities for in-person contact, Airbnb has drummed up a new idea: Online Experiences.

Have you ever wanted to meditate with a Japanese Buddhist monk? Learn how to cook Mexican street tacos with a professional chef? Set fitness goals with an Olympic gold medalist? How about a virtual visit to a goat rescue?

All of this and more is possible, thanks to the power of the internet and Airbnb.

“As people weren’t able to travel anymore, we looked at, ‘How could we kind of allow people to forge these humans connections online?’ ” said Sam Randall, a spokesman for Airbnb. “This is a way for hosts to connect with a global community of guests online and make some extra money.”

The experiences are still time specific, as these experts show off their surroundings and their talents in real time to those gathered virtually. Some virtual classes and tours are less than $10, while others can cost $40 or more. These experiences can accommodate, on average, between 10-30 people, who users will see virtually and enjoy the experience with.

For a fun date night, consider “Sangria and Secrets with Drag Queens,” based in Portugal. People from around the world can join these eccentric queens as they demonstrate how to make Portuguese sangria from scratch.

Kids can enjoy “Story Time with a Children’s Book Author” or families can gather together for the “Secrets of Magic.” There are options that appeal to virtually every age and interest.

“It’s a great way to kind of spice up a weekday or spice up a weekend and jump into an experience that you wouldn’t have been able to do prior to this,” Randall said.


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