Since 2016, Airbnb has offered a service called experiences that allows you to find tours, classes and excursions in a city you're visiting. It’s hard to continue that type of service when most people can't travel currently. So the company hopes the next best thing will do. This week, it’s taking the concept online with the launch of online experiences.
You'll take part in the sessions through Zoom, with Airbnb providing hosts access to the remote conferencing software free of charge. At launch, there are about 50 workshops, lessons and tours to check out, with the hosts hailing from more than 30 different countries. Airbnb claims they'll be thousands of more online sessions to check out in the coming months. One of the current highlights includes a tour of Chernobyl, where you can meet some of the dogs that live there. If goats are more of your thing, you can visit a goat sanctuary. As you might imagine, there are also a lot of cooking and fitness classes.
The company sees the new service as a way to help its hosts earn money, as well as to give the public something to do while they're stuck inside. Last week, Airbnb said it's setting aside $250 million to help hosts affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Airbnb is also partnering with several charities -- including two based in Spain and Italy, where the pandemic has hit especially hard -- to provide free programming to older people. One of the organizations it plans to work with is the National Council on Aging (NCOA).
Is the premise of online experiences just a little bit goofy? Definitely, but once all this is said and done, it might inspire you to visit a place that hadn't been on your bucket list. When it comes to hosts, while not every one of them will be able to take their experiences online, those that are able will likely appreciate the opportunity to make up for at least some lost income.