Airbnb is now selling online experiences coronavirus

Airbnb is looking to charge customers for “online
experiences,” even as hotels flood the digital landscape with free online
content. 

Airbnb is taking its Experiences tours-and-activities business
digital with the debut of a new Online Experiences platform this week. Airbnb’s
in-person Experiences are currently suspended through the end of April due to
the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Airbnb’s inaugural online offerings include some 50 virtual
activities streamed by hosts from all over the world. They include a HIIT
workout with an Olympic rower (from $20 per person), meditation sessions with
Buddhist monks (from $10 per person) and a coffeemaking class taught by a
professional coffee taster (from $4 per person). Airbnb said thousands of
additional virtual activities are scheduled to go live in the coming months.

According to Airbnb, Online Experiences will allow hosts to
earn some income and “connect with our global community of guests in the only
way possible right now.”

In contrast, hotel brands like Six Senses, Miraval and
others have launched online wellness platforms, offering complimentary fitness
classes, meditation sessions and other types of video content. Other properties
offering free access to online experiences include luxury brand Chable
Hotels,
which is hosting everything from virtual cooking classes to cocktail and wine
tastings via Instagram, and the Wynn Las Vegas,
which is streaming art-related
programming on Twitter.

Airbnb said it would offer free Online Experiences to select
community organizations to support older adults that may be isolated during the
Covid-19 crisis. These organizations include the National Council on Aging and
SAGE, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of older LGBT people.

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