Joe Gebbia and Thomas Bach [Credit: Matt Alexander: PA Wire]

Airbnb named Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Partner

Worldwide: Airbnb has, as previously reported, been announced as an official Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Partner in an estimated $500m deal at a press conference in London.

Airbnb’s partnership with the IOC is a long-term agreement, spanning nine years, which will last for at least the next two Summer Olympics [2024 in Paris and Los Angeles in 2028], two Winter Olympic Games [Beijing in 2022 and Milan-Cortina in 2026] and the next five editions of the Paralympics.

The company becomes the Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Partner in the exclusive category “Unique Accommodation Products and Unique Experiences Services”.

Speaking together at Japan House on Monday morning, Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia and International Olympic Committee [IOC] president Thomas Bach called the estimated $500m deal a “landmark partnership” and a “transformative agreement”.

“This partnership will help us greatly to bring the Olympic Games into the digital age,” added Bach.
Ahead of next year’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, the agreement aims to help and encourage travellers visiting the Games see more of the country and mix with local communities by taking part in immersive social activities.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Bach said: “One of the goals of this agenda is to make the Olympic Games more feasible and more sustainable. This will provide accommodation that will generate direct revenue for the host community.”

Under the deal, Airbnb is also setting up Olympian Experiences as the latest addition to its growing Experiences series, having already launched Adventures, Animal Experiences and its Guinness World Record Holder’s Collection earlier this year.

As such, those participating in Olympian Experiences will meet and train with Olympic athletes. They will be able to book activities during the event itself and throughout the year in the home cities of the athletes themselves.

Aoife McArdle, head of Olympics Partnership at Airbnb, told the newspaper: “Most guests would see Olympians and Paralympians as superhuman, and it would be a dream to meet them. This venture will help to expand economic income for Olympians and Paralympians.”

Gebbia said: “Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere. Together with our host community and the International Paralympic Committee, we will ensure the next five Olympic and Paralympic Games are the most accessible yet.

“Para athletes have overcome significant challenges to be best in their field and compete at the Games, and we are delighted to launch Airbnb Olympian Experiences which will support Para athletes in sharing their passions with the world and allow them to monetise their skills,” he added.

Although financial details of the partnership have not been formally disclosed, the deal is rumoured to be around the $500 million mark, according to The Financial Times.

To some, the partnership is being seen as a measure of cutting costs associated with hosting two major sporting events in the space of a few months. Bach says that it will provide guaranteed accommodation for visitors, families of athletes, and officials, thereby reducing the need for host cities to invest significantly in new hotels.

Bach said: “One of the goals of this agenda is to make the Olympic Games more feasible and more sustainable. This will provide accommodation that will reduce the costs for the Olympic Games organisers and all the stakeholders.”

In 2016, Brazilians held protests to coincide with the opening of the Games, owing to the perceived extravagant costs of hosting the events at the time of a crippling recession in the country.

For more information, visit the Airbnb website here, the IOC website here and the IPC website here.

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