Airbnb is launching a new service that seeks to expand their services beyond vacation rentals. The $25-billion dollar company this past weekend sent beta invitations to select users announcing their upcoming "Journeys" feature, which looks to turn Airbnb hosts into tour guides for predetermined Airbnb-approved outings. The service is launching this December in San Francisco, and yes, there is a "Mission Locals" option.
The sales pitch sent out by Airbnb promises anyone who feels compelled to shell out $500 to $750 the opportunity to engage in one of three "handcrafted trips." Locally the options include the aforementioned Mission tour, a nature tour (think Lands End day hikes), and a foodie tour.
The Next Web got a hold of the company's beta invite, and it is quite a thing to behold.
We’re reinventing travel—again—and we’d love you to be a part of history. During the first two weeks of December, we’re piloting a new Airbnb experience: handcrafted trips. We’re extending a limited number of invitations to friends of friends and travelers who are excited to explore the city of San Francisco in an entirely new way - with the locals who live here.
Unsurprisingly, the email highlights beautiful and iconic San Francisco locations like Dolores Park. What is perhaps surprising, on the other hand, is the email's marketing copy which seems to suggest that the "big shifts" in the "rapidly changing" Mission District are entertainment — or just another sight to be consumed by the curious traveler.
When asked about Journeys by The Next Web, an Airbnb spokesperson replied that the company is "always experimenting with new ways to create meaningful experiences on Airbnb" but that there was nothing "specific to share at this time."
Journeys is presently only available in San Francisco, and there is no word yet as to whether the offering will expand to other cities. The company has tried a variation on Journeys before, with a now-discontinued concierge service called "Local Companion."
In classic Airbnb style, the company passes legal liability on to the host leading your journey — something to perhaps keep in mind as you tromp through Lands End or, as the emails suggests, "experience San Francisco through its bakers."