After a year when travel all but vanished from the planet due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are now emerging from their homes, stretching their legs, and racing to hit the open road again.
Airbnb, the vacation-rental company, is looking to further coax the wave of travel in the post-coronavirus era. On Wednesday, it introduced a new program that will give 12 winners the chance to live in Airbnb listings around the world for a year, while the company foots the lodging bill. It’s also offering a stipend for transportation.
Dubbed “Live Anywhere on Airbnb,” the program will run from July 2021 until July 2022. Winners will first receive coaching from Airbnb staff and a few hand-picked perennial travelers, and will then kick off their journeys in September 2021.
Applications may be submitted until June 30.
“Whether it’s joining Zoom meetings by the beach, taking family on the ultimate road trip, or learning a new language in a favorite city—participants can make the world their home,” Airbnb promises.
In addition to drumming up positive publicity, the company says the program will provide valuable business insights. Participants will be asked to “share their experiences with us to help inform future product upgrades and innovations to better accommodate nomadic living,” it wrote in a blog post.
Strategically, that seems smart, as nomadic living has become trendy during the pandemic. Worldwide lockdowns proved that many jobs could be done remotely without a terrible loss of productivity, and now, with the possibility of sustained remote work after the pandemic, some people seem to be contemplating new lifestyles. According to Airbnb’s Report on Travel & Living, 74% of consumers surveyed across five countries expressed interest in living someplace other than where their employer is based.
The platform’s share of long-term stays grew 10% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2019, and 11% of those who booked this year reported partaking in nomad life.
If you want to join them, apply here.