Your Complete Guide to Airbnb Experiences (for Guests and Hosts)
Airbnb has changed the way people travel. The platform makes it easier than ever to find unique places to stay around the world. You no longer have to stay in a boring hotel — instead, you can relax in a historic home or explore the city from an urban apartment. Whatever your travel needs, Airbnb has the accommodations to meet them.
Recently, however, Airbnb has expanded beyond just providing places to stay. Recognizing that people also want to book things to do while they’re traveling, the company has created Airbnb Experiences. It’s an offshoot of the Airbnb service that lets travelers find unique opportunities across the world, while also allowing locals to earn money through hosting experiences.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what Airbnb Experiences are, as well as how they work for both guests and hosts.
What Are Airbnb Experiences?
Airbnb Experiences are not the typical tours you’d book while on vacation. Sure, some of the Experiences do involve touring local landmarks or historic architecture, but even these experiences are led by locals, not by faceless tour companies.
The precise details of what you do during an Airbnb Experience are as varied as the things that Experience hosts can come up with. Given that they are “experiences,” most feature hands-on activities that immerse guests in the local culture of a place.
This could be anything from a cooking class in a local’s home to horseback riding through the countryside. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, there’s an Airbnb Experience out there for you.
How Airbnb Experiences Work for Guests
Now that you understand what Airbnb Experiences are, let’s take a look at how they work for Airbnb guests. If you’ve used the Airbnb platform to book accommodation, then the process of booking an Airbnb Experience will be very familiar.
All Experiences bookings happen through the Airbnb platform and use the same procedure as booking a place to stay. In fact, if Airbnb sees that you’ve booked accommodation in a particular city, they’ll also suggest Experiences that they think might complement your trip.
To see how easy it is to book an Airbnb Experience, let’s take a look at some of the options in Seattle, Washington.
First, we’ll go to the Airbnb website and type in “Seattle” into the search bar at the top. We’ll then click where it says “Seattle, WA experiences”:
From there, you’ll be able to see an overview of the most popular Experiences that the city has to offer:
You can also sort Experiences based on the following categories:
- Food & Drink
- Classes & Workshops
- Social Impact
- Health & Wellness
- Cooking Classes
- History Tours
To narrow things down, let’s say we’re interested in a Social Impact Experience. To filter Experiences using this category, all we have to do is click where it says “Social Impact”:
Airbnb will then display a list of all the Social Impact Experiences available in Seattle:
At a glance, you’ll be able to see the following information about each Experience:
- Price per person
To learn more about a specific Experience, just click on it. You’ll then be able to see a detailed description:
To book an Experience, all you have to do is click “Show dates” and choose the date and time you want:
After that, all that’s left is to review the details and pay for the Experience. You can use the same payment information that you would use for booking places to stay:
Once you’ve booked and paid, the Experience host will contact you with further information. You’ll also be able to communicate with your host through Airbnb if you have any questions leading up to the Experience.
How Airbnb Experiences Work for Hosts
So what if you’re on the other end? What if you’d like to host an Airbnb Experience in your city? Luckily, Airbnb makes the process quite easy. It’s much the same as getting approved to host guests on the platform.
To become an Airbnb Experience host, your first step will be to come up with the general idea for your Experience. This is highly personal, but we recommend you consider where your knowledge and skills intersect with things that travelers would like to do.
To get some inspiration, you can browse the Experiences available on Airbnb. It’s a good idea to look at both the Experiences that are currently available in your city and those in other cities.
From there, you have a couple of options. You could either try to offer a better version of an existing Experience, or you could try to offer an Experience that doesn’t currently exist in your city. An easy way to hack this is to look at what other cities have and see if a similar Experience would work well where you live.
After you have the general concept, you’ll need to submit the Experience to Airbnb for review. Airbnb will take you through an onboarding process to explain what they’re looking for in new Experiences, as well as what your responsibilities will be as an Experiences host.
Once you’ve gone through that process, you’ll create what is essentially a draft of your finalized Experience page. You’ll need to provide info such as how long the Experience will take, who it’s best for, where it will take place, and how much it will cost. You’ll also need to provide a compelling, informative description that will get potential Airbnb guests excited while also answering any questions they might have about how your Experience works.
Finally, someone from Airbnb will review your proposed Experience to see if it fits what the company is looking for. They may ask you to make some adjustments, but assuming everything looks good, they’ll approve the Experience and make it live on the Airbnb platform. After that, all you have to do is wait for bookings and start giving guests an Experience they’ll never forget!
Airbnb Experiences FAQ
To conclude this guide, here are answers to some common questions about Airbnb Experiences:
1. Where are Airbnb Experiences available?
Airbnb Experiences are already available in cities across the United States and the world, and the company continues to add new cities. Here are just a few of the cities where Airbnb Experiences are currently available:
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Francisco
To see if Airbnb Experiences are available in a city you want to visit or host in, just visit the Airbnb website and enter the name of the city.
2. Can I host both guests and Experiences?
Certainly. In fact, offering to host Experiences can be a great way to both offer additional value to your guests and earn more from each booking you get. Guests appreciate the convenience of this, as it saves them the trouble of having to find things to do while they’re traveling.
Having said that, you don’t have to do both. You are free to host guests in your home, host Experiences, or do both.
3. Can I book Airbnb Experiences separate from my accommodation?
Absolutely. Airbnb Experiences and homes exist separately on the Airbnb platform. You can book either or both. It’s completely up to you.
4. Do Airbnb Experiences hosts need to pass a background check?
Not necessarily. Per Airbnb’s background check policy, the company runs background checks on U.S.-based hosts and guests when they have enough information to do so. Generally, they are unable to perform these checks for hosts in other countries (as local laws often limit the extent to which they can do this).
Airbnb does check the names of all hosts and guests against the OFAC list, which includes the names of known terrorists. Ultimately, it’s up to both hosts and guests to keep themselves safe on Airbnb by exercising good judgment and common sense. If something ever seems suspicious, you should report it to Airbnb, as well as local law enforcement if you feel unsafe.
Start Using Airbnb Experiences Today
Whether you’re looking for a unique activity for your next trip or want to earn some extra money through hosting an Experience, we hope this guide has shown you all you need to know to get started with Airbnb Experiences.
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