Airbnb Launches Online Experiences

Learn a new skill while connecting with local people around the world through virtual classes in the comfort of your home.

Guests can join a cello masterclass through Airbnb’s brand-new online experiences.

The global home rental platform Airbnb has been offering one-of-a-kind tours and classes led by locals, termed “hosts,” since 2016, and in the years since, it’s become an increasingly popular way for travelers to get under the skin of any given destination. But with all regular, in-person experiences cancelled through April 30 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, once-busy hosts have been left scrambling for a viable alternative. Enter Airbnb Online Experiences, which the company says will offer a “new way for people to connect, travel virtually, and earn income during the Covid-19 crisis.” The move ensures that hosts retain their livelihoods even as much of the world’s population abides by the strict travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders. All online experiences will be hosted on Zoom, the videoconferencing platform that has shot to fame over the past few weeks as a necessary work-from-home tool.

These promise to bring some much-needed human interaction while adding positivity and joy to one’s home routines. Virtual travelers will get to pick up a new hobby or skill as they make connections with individuals in more than 30 countries around the world. Already, Airbnb Online Experiences offers users the chance to take a meditation class with a Japanese Buddhist monk without getting on a plane to Osaka, learn the steps of Irish dancing, join a K-Beauty 101 tutorial with a Seoul-based TV host, and much more. Foodies can get to grips with Moroccan cuisine by virtually cooking with a family from Marrakesh, follow a professional baker as he creates Swedish pastries from scratch, or, if you’re a turophile, take part in a ricotta-making course led by a California-based host.

The booking process is exactly the same as that of an in-person experience: users will see a calendar that allows them to check the host’s availability on any given day. Each activity typically allows a maximum of 10 guests, keeping things small and intimate, with the option to book out classes for a private one-on-one session. More than 50 virtual Airbnb Experiences are now available for booking, and that number is expected to multiply to the thousands in the months ahead.

More information here.

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