Airbnb
Airbnb has unveiled 'Icons', a new experiences category [Credit: Airbnb]

Airbnb debuts ‘Icons’ category and group trip features

US: Airbnb has unveiled Icons, a new category of experiences hosted by stars from across music, sport, film and more, as well as new group trip planning features, as part of its 2024 Summer Release.

The company has introduced its first 11 Icons from the fields of music, film, television, art and sport, all of whom are set to host “extraordinary” experiences in unique locations, letting guests “step into worlds you’ve only ever dreamed of”.

Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, said: “Icons take you inside worlds that only existed in your imagination—until now. As life becomes increasingly digital, we’re focused on bringing more magic into the real world. With Icons, we’ve created the most extraordinary experiences on Earth.”

The first 11 Icons are as follows:

  • Drift off in the Up house‘ – A detailed creation of the floating house from Disney and Pixar’s film Up, which comes complete with more than 8,000 balloons. The house is located in the red rocks of Abiquiu, New Mexico.
  • Spend the night in the Ferrari Museum‘ – Guests will be able to stay at the famous Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy, sleep on a bed made from the same leather as Ferrari seats, take a lap with Scuderia Ferrari ambassador driver Marc Gené, and take in an Formula One race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as a VIP.
  • Step into X-Men ’97‘ – A 2D animated re-creation of Marvel Animation’s X-Mansion has been set up in Westchester, New York, with guests also having the opportunity to train in the ‘Danger Room’.  
  • Go VIP with Kevin Hart‘– Actor and comedian, Kevin Hart, will host guests in his members-only Coramino Live Lounge for an A-list evening, which includes a secret speakeasy visit, tequila tasting and live stand-up.
  • Wake up in the Musée d’Orsay‘– The Parisian art museum’s clock room will accommodate guests by transforming into a bedroom designed by Mathieu Lehanneur, who also designed the Paris 2024 Games torch and cauldron. Guests will also be able to view the unique Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games from a terrace, which overlooks the barge parade along the River Seine.
  • Join a living room session with Doja Cat‘ – Grammy Award-winning artist Doja is laying on an intimate experience, featuring a medley of her favourite songs and tracks from her latest album.
  • Stay in Prince’s Purple Rain house – The Minneapolis, Minnesota home, which was purchased by Prince and featured in the Purple Rain film is opening to the public for the first time, allowing visitors to access rare tracks from Prince’s collection in an exclusive studio session.
  • Game with Khaby Lame‘ – TikTok sensation Khaby Lame will welcome visitors to his hometown of Milan, Italy for an overnight gaming experience. Guests will stay in a “one-of-a-kind” gaming loft that Khaby designed himself, and face off with him in a Fortnite Battle Royale. 
  • Go on tour with Feid‘ – Visitors will accompany Reggaeton superstar Feid on his FERXXOCALIPSIS World Tour for one week, joining the crew for rehearsals, riding along on the tour bus, and getting backstage access for every show.
  • Live like Bollywood star Janhvi Kapoor‘ – Bollywood star Janhvi Kapoor is inviting guests into her Kapoor family home in Chennai, India, for the first time, where they will taste her favourite southern Indian dishes and be her personal guests for a one-night stay.
  • Make core memories with Inside Out 2‘ – Ahead of the release of Disney and Pixar’s new movie Inside Out 2 on 14 June, this experience includes an overnight stay at Headquarters, the control centre of character Riley’s emotions.

 

According to Airbnb, each of the Icons featured will be in their own category displayed on the homepage. The majority of the Icons will be free, but of those which are paid-for experiences, each will be priced under $100 per guest.

A countdown displays the time until each Icon goes live, and guests will be able to request to book through the app. The guests who are selected will receive a digital golden ticket, and more than 4,000 tickets will be available this year.

Airbnb first launched Experiences back in 2016, marking them out as “unique, memorable activities designed and hosted by locals that go beyond typical tours or workshops”. They also set out to provide deep insights and immersion into hosts’ passions and interests, giving guests a different way to experience a destination.

Since launching its Experiences product eight years ago, Airbnb has expanded the programme with several different iterations, ranging from Online Experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic to Experiences with athletes to mark the company’s partnership with the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees [IOC and IPC]. Now, the company is exploring a new marketing strategy that includes an expansion beyond its core short-term rental business, and more towards longer-term stays, Experiences, AI-powered features and more to be announced.

Also as part of its 2024 Summer Release, Airbnb has announced the introduction of a number of new features designed to make group trip planning easier than ever. According to the company, 80 per cent of current bookings on Airbnb are for group trips:

  • Shared wishlists

Airbnb users will be able to share their wishlists with others on their trip, inviting them to add homes, write notes and vote on listings. When they share listings with others, the app creates a wishlist with these homes.

  • New messages tab

A redesigned messages tab will now allow everyone on a trip to message with the host in a group thread. The simplified design has been conceived to consolidate all guest, host and customer support messages in one place, making it easier to search across messages. Reactions allow guests and hosts to respond with emojis, and hosts can use AI-powered suggestions to instantly and easily answer common questions.

It marks Airbnb’s latest venture into the use of artificial intelligence [AI] across its platform, six months after acquiring AI stealth company GamePlanner.AI.

  • Trip invitations

Once guests book a trip, they will be able to invite others to join them with digital postcards of their destination, illustrated by artists from around the world. Everyone joining the trip will get all reservation details including the full address, wifi password, and check-in instructions.

The Airbnb Icons and group trip planning features are available with immediate effect.

Airbnb’s 2024 Summer Release also includes upgrades for hosts based on their feedback, including an expanded earnings dashboard with interactive performance charts and automated earnings reports, and an updated listings tab which gives hosts more control when editing a photo tour to showcase their space.

Airbnb is scheduled to publish the results of its earnings report for the first quarter of this year on 8 May.

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