Airbnb Launches “Trips,” Offering Customers Things To Do, See On Their Travels

Image courtesy of Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

Airbnb’s plan to apparently become a full-time travel agency by offering customers add-on travel options like tours, bike rentals, and more moved another step closer to reality this week as the company officially launched Trips, a service that combines accommodations with things to do.

The service, which was officially unveiled Thursday, acts as a concierge of sorts for travelers, providing them with personalized suggestions on activities based on city guidebooks, dining, and happy hour events.

Trips is intended to “make travel magical” by “immersing travelers in communities around the world,” Airbnb says in a blog post.

“Having already transformed where people stay when they travel through people-powered hospitality, Airbnb is taking this same people-focused approach to the rest of the trip and, in doing so, providing a way for people to make money from their passions and interests,” the company says.

Through Trips Airbnb guests can survey a list of short-term activities — such as classes, shows, and other “Experiences” — or longer ventures — such as day trips, overnight hikes, or other “Immersions” —suggested by those who live in the city or have previously visited the area they are staying in.

Currently, the service offers about 500 Experiences in 12 cities around the world.

Trips also aims to bring “places to life” through Insider Guidebooks that provide travelers with information from cultural experts and neighborhood insiders recommending “gems within their city.”

“Find the perfect run from a marathoner, the best dive bar from a local mixologist and the next great undiscovered restaurant from an up-and-coming chef,” the company says.

At launch, the Insider Guidebooks will be available in six cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Havana, Nairobi, Detroit, and Seoul.

Eventually, Airbnb plans to make the travel agency idea official by adding flights and services.

The company says that it plans to use Trips as a way for guests to meet up with each other. For example, visitors can stop by local business-hosted events where they can connect with locals.

Trips has been rumored to be in the works for quite some time. In fact, the Airbnb Trips app appeared on the Google Play Store back in August.

Just last month Airbnb inked a deal to purchase startup travel-planning serviceTrip4real. The company, which launched in 2012, connects travelers with locals who arrange tour activities for their visit. Sound familiar? That’s exactly the concept Airbnb has been toying with for the past several months.