Airbnb Wants To Help Book Your Plane Tickets

Image courtesy of Ron Kroetz

Airbnb handles the lodging part of your travel, but the company has made it clear that it wants to handle more of your trip. Its previous expansion, Trips, let customers book things to do at their destination. Airbnb apparently also wants to help travelers get to those destinations in the first place, by helping its customers book their flights.

This would help Airbnb compete with industry giants Priceline and Expedia to plan customers’ entire trips, but Bloomberg Technology reports that the idea is in an early planning stage. The Flights tool would be live in about 18 months, before the company’s initial public offering of stock.

To get that flight-booking service, Airbnb could acquire an existing online travel agency, or build its own tool by licensing the same data that other travel sites do.

In the traditional travel industry, sites typically earn more profits from hotels and other lodgings, but it’s checking flight prices and making reservations that brings them to the site to start.

Airbnb began selling add-on experiences to customers earlier this year, with the stated goal of “mak[ing] travel more magical,” and the unstated goal of making each customer more profitable.

A company spokesman declined to comment on the Flights tool, and said that the company does not have an IPO date set.