When Airbnb first landed in our lives back in 2008, we still weren’t quite sure about it. Fast forward a few years and the homestay network has divided people into two camps: those who still love the comfort of hotels, and those that like to live like a local and fully immerse themselves by staying in a local’s home in a more residential area.
Some like to rent rooms and have a makeshift travel guide on hand, others like to rent big houses. (Even celebrities like Justin Bieber are renting luxury rentals from them.) There are some pretty amazing stays on Airbnb, after all.
Their thinking? Take out all the hard research work that goes into trying to have an authentic travel experience by encouraging people to share their community with others. It’s only starting out in 12 cities to begin with, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Paris, and it will entail one-off events or activities that string out over a few days, all hosted by locals. You’ll have a choice of ‘immersions’ or ‘single experiences’, depending on how much time you have, and you can filter them by the subject you’re interested in, from food to fashion.
The hotel alternative has previously caused controversy in cities, like Berlin, that see its presence as the cause of rising rents and gentrification. Airbnb took action by ruling that hosts are only able to rent their homes for 60 days a year – but questions are still floating around about how exactly they’ll be able to monitor and validate these sorts of experiences on offer. Would you go on one?