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A Look Back: One Year Of Traveling From Home With Online Experiences

A year ago today, Airbnb launched Online Experiences to create meaningful ways for people to connect during the COVID-19 crisis. The move to an online format allowed Hosts to sustain their businesses and earn income while in-person Experiences were paused. With nearly half of Experience Hosts reporting they or a member of their household is a small or independent business owner,* Online Experiences has become a vital stream of income for many Hosts and an unique way for guests worldwide to travel virtually.

Online Experiences is Airbnb’s fastest-growing product to-date, connecting hundreds of thousands of guests over the past year. Experiences have proven very lucrative for some Hosts during the pandemic, with popular Experiences earning close to $500,000. Since April 2020, guests have trained with Olympic medalists, decked their holiday halls with celebrities and gone behind the scenes of K-Pop – all from the comfort of their own home.

As travel restrictions lift, guests are increasingly looking for ways to safely reunite with loved ones. More than half of past Online Experience guests say they would keep booking, even after in-person activities resume, citing learning new things (76%) and exposure to other cultures and lifestyles (75%) as primary incentives for future bookings.** Top categories over the past year include Food, Culture & History, Drink and Wellness. Some of the most popular Online Experiences to-date include:

In addition to providing memorable ways to connect virtually, Online Experiences offer local insights to exploring destinations ahead of future travel. According to a recent survey, over three-fourths of Americans are interested in immersive online experiences to visit their favorite destinations before taking a trip.*** Subsequently, bookings that correlate to the most wishlisted destinations in 2021, including A Fabulous Day in Paris, continue to rise.

As travelers look to IRL getaways, new trends in Online Experiences categories have also emerged. For instance, the Outdoor Activities category has seen approximately 130 percent growth in bookings so far this year, compared to the last three months of 2020. Other trending categories include Dance (approximately 25% growth), Music (approximately 15% growth) and Fitness & Recreation (approximately 15% growth).

Looking ahead, Online Experiences will continue to support Host earnings, provide unique opportunities for human connection, and create new ways to draw travel inspiration from home. Whether traveling to a far flung destination for the first time, returning to a favorite city or reconnecting with friends and family, Online Experiences is an easy way to explore and aspire – no passport required.

*Based on more than 5,000 responses to a voluntary 2019 survey sent to a representative sample of Airbnb Experiences host accounts around the world. 

**Based on a voluntary July survey of more than 900 past Online Experiences guest from around the world who booked over the past three months.

***Based on a sample of 2,000 US adults (18 years or older) was surveyed between February 19, 2021 and February 21, 2021. The margin of error is 2.2%. DKC Analytics conducted and analyzed this survey with a sample procured using the Pollfish survey delivery platform, which delivers online surveys globally through mobile apps and the mobile web along with the desktop web. Unless otherwise noted, all statistical information is from the DKC Analytics survey.

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