US: Following the launch of its Online Experiences program in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, Airbnb is adding a further set of immersive, virtual experiences for members to learn a new activity during the ongoing lockdown period.
Airbnb initially launched the program to offer more than 400 activities for guests to try something new as the global lockdown put paid to their travel plans. Now it is partnering with brands such as TikTok, Broadway, Pride events for LGBTQ+ hosts and its existing partners at the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, to provide an even more diverse offering to travellers who have been affected by and are struggling due to the pandemic and isolation enforced by lockdown measures.
All of the virtual experiences take place live via video and web conferencing site, Zoom, which has almost become synonymous with connecting people, families and friends from all around the world during the last few difficult months. Guests can choose to talk to hosts or participate in creative collaborative projects, both individual and in teams, such as mediation and cooking classes.
Airbnb CEO and co-founder, Brian Chesky, told USA TODAY: “For guests, I think this has been a very, very important way for people to feel like they can connect to one another. You can learn an activity, you can also meet guests all over the world.”
The new experiences include:
- Olympics: Fans around the world will get the opportunity to interact with their sporting idols next month, such as British triathlete Alistair Brownlee or American bobsledder Lauren Gibbs. Airbnb is already a sponsor of the Olympics and Paralympics, however this year’s Tokyo Games were forced to be put back to 2021 in light of the pandemic.
- Broadway: Members of the Broadway community, on behalf of their closed shows, will provide an intimate look at their productions via an online experience. In some cases, the proceeds will also go to charity.
- TikTok: Airbnb has partnered with Chinese video-sharing social networking service TikTok to give stars such as Bonnie Rodriguez [@bonnierzm], the McFarland Family [@themcfarlands] and Dr. Austin Chiang [@austinchiangmd] a platform for experiences in photography, comedy, health and wellness.
- Pride: A virtual Pride week will be held via Airbnb’s Online Experiences platform, and will be available for its LGBTQ+ hosts. The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association [IGLTA], the IGLTA Foundation and its members will also offer experiences all-year-round.
For more information, visit the Airbnb Online Experiences platform here.