With virtual travel rapidly gaining steam in light of the coronavirus pandemic, home-sharing giant Airbnb has unveiled a suite of Online Experiences, allowing communities globally to continue immersing in handcrafted activities worldwide from the comfort of their homes.
Online Experiences connects virtual tourists to local hosts from more than 30 countries, and was launched to help Airbnb’s hosts to continue earning an income despite Covid-19 disruptions, while enabling guests to learn a new skill, safely connect with others, or pursue an interest.
Guests can choose to meditate with a Japanese buddhist monk in Osaka, take coffee-making classes from a national judge in Mexico City, or go on a virtual bike tour with Olympian Alistair Brownlee in Otley, the UK.
With Planet Earth on lockdown and people’s movements severely restricted, Airbnb said that Online Experiences provides new activities for families to explore like learning the secrets of magic; options for work colleagues who want to bond with team activities like making coffee with a professional coffee taster; and features for groups looking to celebrate birthdays or get togethers privately, with the option to request specific dates for Experiences like bartending with experts.
“Human connection is at the core of what we do. With so many people needing to stay indoors to protect their health, we want to provide an opportunity for our hosts to connect with our global community of guests in the only way possible right now – online,” said Catherine Powell, head of Airbnb Experiences.
To help those who are most isolated, like older adults, Airbnb has also curated a set of free Online Experiences for them, in partnership with local organisations around the world, including SAGE, National Council on Aging in the US, Associazione Nazionale Alpini – Sezione di Milan in Italy, and Amigos de los Mayores in Spain.
Booking opens immediately with more than 50 virtual Airbnb Experiences available at airbnb.com/online-experiences, with thousands more coming online in the coming months.
Online Experiences will be hosted on Zoom, and Airbnb is providing hosts access to Zoom free of charge along with personalised support services for curating, capturing and sharing their Online Experience.