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Change for the best

How does one promote local tourism, provide relevant and personalized travel experiences, and get to know its user better? How do you provide new revenue streams to deal with automation and make it easier for anyone to pay their bills doing what they like the most? Airbnb’s new strategy, announced in December at its annual Airbnb Open festival in Los Angeles (USA) seems to be taking off. The company invited more than 200 international media reporters – to share their news. Airbnb ceases to be an accommodation search platform to become an all-in-one and P2P travel application, for the moment with two new tools:

  1. One to share experiences – to experience activities with local people
  2. And another with themed guides on places and things.

 

Transition

Airbnb’s transition is based on an idea that has been present on the platform from the beginning: the important thing about the trip is the experience. Staying in local people’s houses has so far been their proposal for a different kind of tourism.

“People traveling alone are spending their time queuing in the same places where everyone goes,” says Airbnb founder and CEO Brian Chesky.

Specifically referring to activities designed for tourists. On the other hand, travel is so fragmented in many websites that “people can spend more hours planning their trip than enjoying it,” says Chesky. That’s why, two years ago, I decided that it was time to create a product that changed this reality.

Four people formed the team that conceived it. One of them is Joe Zadeh, Vice President and Product Director of Airbnb. ” ‘Trips’ will change the way travel is considered,” says Zadeh. “Instead of creating lists of things to cross out, travellers are going to wonder what they would love to know and do. They will not choose the city first, but what they are interested in doing,” he says.

Analysis of data

The director of Hospitality and Strategy of Airbnb, Chip Conley adds that the future of tourism, in the case of Airbnb, is to analyze its large volume of data to improve and personalize the experiences they provide. And, in the sector in general, “to improve the feedback loop of the hotel and food industry”. “Airbnb is helping the industry understand how to know the pulse and opinions of its customers,” says Conley in reference to the rating system of the platform.

Zadeh and Conley agree on something else too: to host (whether a house or an experience) “is a job that robots can not do”. Therefore, they believe it will be and remain a “real alternative” to generate income “in a world where technological automation is replacing many jobs.” In fact, it already is for many of the hosts who share their homes through the platform. “For them, it is a way to pay bills and even to change jobs and focus on their passion, not only sharing their home but now also doing what they like to do.”

Airbnb Experiences

The added possibilities of the new tool Experiences , which Airbnb expects to assume are- in Zadeh’s words – a turning point in terms of application users. Because they do not need a house to use it, they increase the possibilities of use: “Tourism represents about 10% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and everyone should be able to benefit from it”, adds Chris Lehane, director of Public Affairs for Airbnb.

Another factor that was highlighted by the three managers is that the new Airbnb allows people to get a reward for sharing their hobbies and “living on what they are most passionate about.” Conley believes that being a host can be considered a profession and he expects it to become a career and “anyone can decide to be a host as a way of life.”

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