Airbnb Just Expanded Its App Significantly, Adding Local Experiences and Restaurant Reservations

Becoming a 'holistic travel' service

Airbnb announced today that it is expanding its scope significantly, moving from a home-sharing business to a "holistic travel" company, said CEO Brian Chesky at the Airbnb Open event in Los Angeles.

It rolled out a new feature called Trips as part of an app update designed to provide travelers with a one-stop shop. The feature focuses on three areas—experiences, places and homes—and the company plans to add flights and services in the future. 

Airbnb hosts can now offer unique experiences, allowing users to try different activities while traveling, like taking a lesson from a samurai sword artist, learning to make a dress or getting a makeover.

"'Experiences' are our handcrafted experiences that allow you to immerse in the local community," Chesky said. "These are offered by local hosts, and we have two types: We have immersions, which are multi-day experiences, and we have single-day experiences, which are just a few hours." 

He added that Airbnb "designed this to be both magical and easy," and the goal is to connect travelers with locals they wouldn't normally meet. The result, he hopes, will be a truly immersive experience.

The new feature kicks off today with 500 possible experiences for travelers to choose from in 12 cities around the world, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Nairobi, Cape Town, Tokyo and Seoul. Hosts can now request to offer experiences, like learning about star gazing, to Airbnb's listings in these cities and future cities. 

To get users interested in these activities, the company took inspiration from the movies, explained Chesky. Each experience has its own poster and trailer. (See below for an example.) 

Another portion of the Trips feature, places, taps into recommendations from Airbnb hosts to give users an alternative to tourist traps, offering what the company pitches is an authentic experience of a city where they can see what it is like to "live there." 

Places allows travelers to use hosts' guidebooks (which the company launched earlier this year), participate in local meet ups and go on audio walks. Users will be able to take those audio tours in Los Angeles first; San Francisco, Paris, London, Tokyo and Seoul will be added in spring 2017.

The company has also added another function to its app, the Trip Itinerary, which gives users the "ability to easily book and add experiences or things to do."  The Trip Itinerary will evolve its capabilities "based on machine learning to dynamically suggest personalized and contextual (i.e. based on location) recommendations during a trip," according to the company's release. "Airbnb's vision is to ultimately cater for every aspect of a trip, making it both easy and magical from start to finish." 

"Even from when we started we've really always been about a trip," said Chesky. "And when we're at our best, this is who we are."  

The company has also partnered with Resy, a reservations company, to add restaurant reservations to the app. And it partnered with Make a Wish foundation to grant wishes through its experience function daily.

Airbnb's in-house team, along with creative shop TBWA\Chiat\Day, created a new spot (see below) pitching experiences. 

Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day
Creative: Stephen Butler, Brent Anderson, Kyla Elliott, Ben Beazley, Liz Cartwright, Stephen Lum
Brand Leadership: James Vincent, Kelly Lee, Andrie Wheeler, Matt Theisen, Kelli McDonald
Planning: Neil Barrie, Jennifer Costello, Brooke Lonegan, Farid Mozafari
Production: Brian O'Rourke, Anh-Thu Le, Max Belin, Scott Henry, Adrian Womack
Business Affairs Linda Daubson, Maryam Ohebsion
Traffic: Jarim Lynn

Social Team
Creative: Robbie Reynolds, Sasha Verma, Christian Prieto
Brand Leadership: Jenn Wong, Anthony Perrin
Planning: Kyle Luhr, Emilie Arrive, Laura Mayer

Media Agency: Starcom
Cristina Torres, Business Lead
Erin Houg, SVP
Jillian Mansheim, Global Associate Director
Gerard Martin, Experience Design Director
Christi Pizarek, Global Associate Director
Batchimeg Ganbaatar, Supervisor
Andy Develvis, Supervisor
Darren Allison, Supervisor
Hannah Nowicki, Associate

Paid Social Media Agency: Amobee

Chad Bronstein, SVP Global Partnerships, Amobee
Amanda Chin, Director of Social, Amobee
Stefan Sideris, Director of Global Social Media Operations, Amobee
Kate Barry, VP Client Services, Amobee EMEA
Stephanie Conlin, Sales and Client Services Director, Amobee SEA

Client: Airbnb 
Chief Marketing Officer: Jonathan Mildenhall
Global Brand Marketing Director: Alexandra Dimiziani
Senior Global Marketing Director: Marion Link
Marketing Specialist: Sophia Horowitz
Managing Director, The Art Department: James Goode
Global Head of Production: Rachel Holbrook
Global Production Lead: Holly Butler
Global Photography Lead: Bridget Harris
Creative Producer, Photography: Rebecca Lanthorne
Creative Director: Tony Hogqvist
Creative Lead: Dillon Petrillo
Assistant Creative Producer: Freddie Whitman
Global Brand Strategy Lead: Nancy King
Global Brand Strategy: Cameron Ferrin
Global Head of Social: Eric Toda
Global Social Media Manager: Jasmine Atherton
Social Media Analyst: Chase Munson
Connections and Media Activations Lead: Rachael Haley
Connections and Media Activations Manager: Jordan Ng
Connections and Media Activations Manager: Frank Cortese

Production: Caviar
Director: Arnaud Uttenhove
Executive Producer: Michael Sagol
Executive Producer: Kim Dellara
Head of Production: Kelly Bowen
Line Producer: Stephan Mohammed
Prod Supervisor: Laura Peszynski
Dir. Of Photography:  Daniel Bouquet
1st AD : Kennedy Taylor

Photographer: Farhad Samari
Producer: Brienna Price

Editorial: Exile / The Art Department
Editor – The Art Department – Dillon Petrillo
Editors: Will Butler :60 & Rex Lowry :10s and :15s
Assistant Editors: Brandon Lawrence
Producers: Jennifer Lock – HOP, Michael Miller – Producer
EP: Carol Lynn Weaver
Assistant Editor – The Art Department – Freddie Whitman

Telecine/Film Transfer: MPC
Color EP: Meghan Lang
Color Producer Rebecca Boorsma
Colorist: Mark Gethin
VFX: Mark Holden
VFX: Ben Davidson
VFX Producer: Abisayo Adejare

Music Company: Beta Petrol
Music Supervision: Bryan Ray Turcotte
EP: Dayna Turcotte

Audio Mix: LIME Studios
EP – Susie Boyajan
Mixer – Mark Meyuhas
Assistant Mixer – Stephen Fredericks
Assistant Mixer – Peter Lapinski

On-line Editorial: SAINT/MP
Executive Producer – Helen Park
Producer – Kristina Thoegersen
Creative Director – Rob Trent
Flame Artist – Miles Essmiller
Flame Artist – Dave Stern