Airbnb has introduced an all-digital version of its Experiences platform for tours and activities.
With the company's new Online Experiences, experts around the world can teach you how to do magic tricks, make the perfect cup of coffee, meditate like a Buddhist monk, and stomp like an Irish step dancer—all without leaving your home, thanks to audio-visual technology connecting the laptops or phones of participants and guides (or "Hosts," in Airbnb parlance.)
There's just one thing: You have to pay for each activity. Hosts set the amount, which is sometimes as low as $4 (the coffee tasting mentioned above, for instance), but more commonly around $10 (as with the Buddhist meditation and Irish dancing) or more (the magic class is $20).
Of course, you have to pay for Airbnb Experiences when you attend one in non-isolation life, too. But the new offerings unfold on your own laptop in your own living room.
Airbnb says that Online Experiences will help Hosts to continue making money while on lockdown, and the company has partnered with charitable organizations to make some digital content free for seniors.
But given all the virtual tours and livestreams currently offered at no charge by zoos, museums, gyms, and other institutions, will other Airbnb users want to pay for stay-at-home experiences?
The company will soon find out.