Why Airbnb Is One Of The Most Innovative Companies Of 2017

Airbnb has put a world of experiences at users’ fingertips, expanding its scope from just shared accommodations.

Why Airbnb Is One Of The Most Innovative Companies Of 2017
[Photo: courtesy of Airbnb]

The company that lured travelers from hotels to homes is now getting them off tour buses and into the real world. “What’s wrong with much of travel is that it’s so mass-produced and transactional,” says Joe Zadeh, VP of product for Airbnb. In November, CEO Brian Chesky introduced Experiences, local adventures that extend Air­bnb’s host-based hospitality into tours and multiday itineraries. The service creates a potentially lucrative revenue stream and marks the next hop in Airbnb’s journey to reimagine travel.

1. Specialized Tours

Experiences taps Airbnb’s community to offer the kinds of highly curated adventures that were once the exclusive domain of premium travel agents, such as a three-night sake tasting in Tokyo led by a sommelier ($177) and a dip into Paris’s African fashion culture ($60).

2. Armchair Inspiration

Occupying their own section within Airbnb’s new app, the Experiences listings are elegant, browsable, and highly visual—like a luxe travel magazine. They’re also extremely easy to book.

3. Trips, Not Tools

Airbnb is moving closer to handling users’ entire travel experience. A deal with the app Resy integrates restaurant reservations, and app users can download more than 100 guidebooks. Soon, it may add flight booking. “Can we build out the best trip?” Zadeh asks. “Ultimately that’s what creates a service people love.”

This article is part of our coverage of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2017.


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