Airbnb adds online experiences from Brand USA

US: Airbnb has announced a partnership with American destination marketing organisation Brand USA to create a new set of Online Experiences.

Airbnb has created a new landing page for the initiative and set up experiences with five unique storytellers from United Stories.

Some of the experiences already offered on the site include a southern food workshop with a Mississippi Chef, spoken-word poetry with a Cleveland based poet and a virtual adventure to Hawai’i’s coral reefs. Brand USA hopes to highlight the variety of tourist experiences available in the United States.

Tom Garzili, chief marketing officer at Brand USA, said: “Airbnb Online Experiences gives us a new platform to share warm and welcoming stories about US destinations. As the world longs to travel again, we are delighted to help travellers understand places more deeply, meet real people, and uncover local perspectives to activate their wanderlust.”

Airbnb partnered with over 12 destination management organisations this June to help re-develop the tourist economy. This includes work with VisitScotland and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.

Chris Lehane, SVP for global public policy and communications, said: “As those of us in travel and tourism look to support the nation’s economic recovery, we are as proud as we are privileged to be partnering with Brand USA to make it possible for people all over the world to virtually visit the United States via Airbnb’s Online Experiences. These Online Experiences will help virtual visitors experience the incredible natural beauty of our lands, the cultural mosaic that makes America so special and, our greatest natural resource of all, our people.”

Airbnb established its Online Experiences programme in April as an extension of its 2016 Experiences programme. The initiative’s aim was to provide a “new way for people to connect, travel virtually and earn income during the Covid-19 crisis”, including online dates, cooking classes and training with Olympic athletes.

Meanwhile, Apple threatened to remove the home-sharing platform from its App Store after it refused to pay a 30 per cent fee taken from online events providers. The tech company announced it would waive the fee for Airbnb and other firms hosting online events over the next three months after mounting criticism.