By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
After more than a decade in business, Airbnb has gone beyond being recognized as just a worldwide accommodations platform that folks use as an alternative to hotels.
The company was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nate Blecharczyk;
it’s very first listing was Chesky and Gebbia’s Rausch Street San Francisco apartment. During a weekend where hotel rooms were completely sold out for a design conference, the duo decided to host guests on air beds and serve them breakfast in order to make enough money to pay their rent.
Today, Airbnb boasts more than 400 million guest arrivals with an average number of 2 million people staying with Airbnb per night, in an excess of 1,000 cities. But, the company offers more than just a room to sleep in.
Airbnb also offers “Experiences,” which are one-of-a-kind activities designed and hosted by locals that you enjoy both when you’re traveling or when you’re at home. Unlike a typical tour or workshop, Experiences go beyond the activities themselves. They offer a deep-dive into the local host’s world through their passion.
Hosts offer their guests special knowledge, unique skills, and inside access to local places and communities that guests couldn’t find on their own, creating lasting connections and treasured memories.
Experiences tell the story of the host’s unique perspective and passion, whether it’s their love of street food, sewing, or the history of their neighborhood.
For instance, an Airbnb Experience in Paris could be visiting the Louvre with an art historian who’s also a comedian.
In Harlem, it’s a jazz concert with a local musician or in L.A., a concert featuring music from the African diaspora. In Cape Town, mountain biking can be experienced with views of Table Mountain and in Barcelona, making paella based on an old family recipe can be experienced in a private garden.
Cassidy Blackwell, who works on the company’s Communications Team as the Director of Strategic Projects, said there are also more than 15,000 Airbnb experiences worldwide which also includes diversity-filled events and attractions.
“Our company’s mission is to ensure anyone can belong anywhere,” Blackwell said
“It’s really important for us to make efforts to bring different communities onto the platform and to dispel myths around the world about Airbnb,” she said.
The folks at Airbnb have counted on people being inherently good and the more that the company can use travel as a way of breaking down barriers, the better everyone can be as a global community.
The Experiences on Airbnb include classes, tours, concerts and a host of other exciting activities. Most are designed for people to discover an easy way of doing or even learning something different.
One Experience is hosted in New Quay by Gerry, a marine biologist who has worked in the world of oysters for many years – breeding, growing, marketing, opening, and eating them. Gerry offers a tour that’s informal, informative and entertaining. He says the humor dictates the script.
“We welcome you into our premises and give you a tour through a working oyster warehouse on the seashore. We introduce you to the area with particular emphasis on the sea outside and how the tides work to provide us with very clean water,” said Gerry, whose full description is available on the Airbnb website.
“We will show you our pet/touch tank that holds some of the fascinating sea creatures that inhabit the sea floor right outside our window and watch them as they do their thing.”
In South Africa, Martin guides tourists on a hike to the summit of the iconic Table Mountain where they can experience why it’s one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
“We will take some of my favorite more easily missed paths to the top. There are many routes that go up and together we will find one that suits your skill and confidence level,” Martin says.
The trails all include a combination of hiking, varied levels of scrambling and exposure to heights that will allow everyone to reach incredible viewpoints of Lion’s Head, Twelve Apostles, Camps Bay, Back Table and the Mother City.
“I will take you into the world of the breathtaking Fynbos Floral Kingdom and the very first occupants of Southern Africa who named the mountain ‘Hoerikwaggo’ – or Mountain in the sea,” Martin said.
“Once we reach the summit we will go to one of my awesome viewpoints to take some summit photos or just enjoy the view from the top. If the Cable Car Station is open, then the hike will finish there. You can then spend some more time at the top and soak in some more views or go and enjoy a well-deserved treat from the restaurant, my recommendations being their hot chocolate a cold beer or the mouthwatering milk tart.”
Airbnb Experiences also include jazz concerts in London, Seattle and other locations as well as a farm visit in Detroit; history walk in San Juan, Puerto Rico; a city running tour in Philadelphia; a Potter’s Wheel in Brooklyn; lessons on how to make pizza in Atlanta; and a moonlit monuments mysteries hike in Washington, D.C.
After a decade in business, whether its hosting, satisfying guests or the wide-variety of Experiences, Airbnb success stories continue to pour in.
Those Experiences also include a photo shoot at the Brooklyn Bridge by Sasha, an Airbnb Experiences host. “We’ll walk the length of Brooklyn Bridge, from Manhattan to the Brooklyn neighborhood known as Dumbo,” Sasha says.
“As a long-time New Yorker and published photographer, we will help you capture your vacation in beautiful, high-res photos. We will share insider knowledge of New York City while shooting unforgettable photos of you atop the Brooklyn Bridge, and set against the Manhattan skyline,” she said.
“You’ll learn an interesting perspective and we’ll show you exciting angles and spots to get the best pictures with a beautiful New York City backdrop.”