We covered what to know before joining Airbnb Experiences, from commission to image quality and software integrations, in a previous article. Next, we are dipping into Airbnb's expectations, what type of products do well, and their standards.
What is Airbnb Looking For
Airbnb Experiences offer their tours and experiences a little differently than most other OTAs, and along with that comes different expectations for their products. While the differences are wildly jarring, the overall expectation from Airbnb is that experiences are unique. However, that doesn't mean there isn't room for the traditional walking tour.
Much like their accommodation market, the concept behind experiences is that you can find unique and creative experiences that you wouldn't be able to see on other OTAs. The idea is that each experience will provide the guests with insider access or a perspective that wouldn't be accessible anywhere else. This could be a physical perspective, like a private viewpoint, or a different way of looking at a topic, an architect providing commentary on an architectural wonder.
While this was the original expectation presented by Airbnb, things might be changing.
More Traditional Products are Finding Space
Taking a peek at the most popular listings on Airbnb shows that the more traditional tours are finding their footing on the platform. Things like walking tours, biking tours, and food tours are popping up on the site and racking up thousands of reviews. These sit alongside the more unique experiences like learning to breathe fire in LA or glass blowing in Venice.
While the more traditional experiences might not align perfectly with Airbnbs' play for more unique experiences, there is still the demand for those walking and biking tours that appeal to a broader audience. In addition, the experience marketing has not grown as quickly as Airbnb might have hoped, hence the need to include the more traditional experiences in their marketplace.
Airbnb Quality Standards
Airbnb advertises Quality Standards that each tour or experience must meet before being approved to be listed on the site. In addition, there is a strong focus on hospitality, your expertise in the area of your experience, and exclusive access. Below are the primary areas that Airbnb looks at when considering approval for your product:
Standout: As you probably have noticed, Airbnb pushes the unique and innovative angle of their Experiences market. Just like their accommodation sector, the ability to create an exciting place to stay spills over into Experiences.
Insider Access: Can you get your guests behind the scenes access to something? This is a clear winner, especially if it is something that a competitor does not easily copy. Your experience should give guests access that they wouldn't be able to acquire without you or give guests a perspective they wouldn't get without you.
Community: Another aspect of Airbnb is providing travellers with a sense of community. One of the requirements of Airbnb Experiences is that only Airbnb guests are allowed on the experience. This is done to create a sense of community around Airbnb. It is a perfect way to build brand loyalty, putting like-minded people together. Airbnb hopes that guests will get to know one another and reinforce their love and commitment to Airbnb.
Airbnb is more interested in experiences that offer a more exclusive offering, shifting the focus away from excursions that travellers could stumble upon. Despite this, the platform is becoming more flexible in allowing less specialised experiences to advertise on the site. In fact, Airbnb is currently looking for products of this nature to add to the Experiences portfolio. With this in mind, you should not be hesitant to list your tour on Experiences if it does not precisely match the advice above. Instead, you should use these guidelines to your advantage when submitting your Experiences application and writing your product descriptions.
Airbnb's Terms and Conditions
There are some key differences between traditional OTAs and Airbnb Experiences. Take some time to review Airbnbs Terms and Conditions and their standards to ensure that it is a good fit for you. Below are some key points to consider:
Airbnb comes out on top when it comes to commission... Airbnb charges 20% instead of 25% or higher than the other, more traditional reselling partners. While this might change in the future as Airbnb Experiences grow, this rate is exceptional for right now.
Airbnb does not have any cut-off requirements at the moment, unlike the majority of other OTAs. However, the maximum cut-off time is seven days in advance, which can be great for larger, multi-day tour offerings.
Group size is capped at 10. While this might be pushed by adding guests from other selling platforms, Airbnb guests might be anticipating a smaller and more personalised experience. Conversely, Airbnb does not allow operators to set a minimum number of guests, and this means you could be running a tour with only one person on it. This might be a more significant problem for some, depending on the cost to run a tour and your ability to sell tickets. If you combine Airbnb guests with others and make a high number of reservations, this might not be a concern. However, smaller operators might want to take some more time to consider this.
Airbnb Guests Only
As previously mentioned, Airbnb works to create an air of exclusivity for all their Experiences. Part of this is ensuring that only Airbnb guests are allowed on a tour or attraction at a time. No mixing and matching guests with direct bookings or bookings from other OTAs. This might explain the reasonable commission rate as well. While Airbnb isn't strictly enforcing this rule, it is something to be aware of as you consider the platform.
One of the more unique aspects of Airbnb Experiences is having multiple "hosts" on a particular experience. This allows you to schedule multiple tours with potentially overlapping times and assign guides to a specific time or experience. There are certain requirements for this, so be sure to read through the conditions.
We see little downside in giving it a try; you might find that it introduces you to an entirely new set of travellers that you previously did not reach via platforms. If you find that it is not a good fit, you can simply close out your listing and move on. Of course, the incentive is the terms and conditions and commission rate that is comparatively more favourable to the tour operator. The downside is, of course the lack of a minimum group size and the forced cancellation policy. But, overall, give it a shot! You might be pleasantly surprised.
Download our complete Airbnb Experiences Market Guide 2022 for free. This guide discusses what to know before you apply, how to apply, and make Airbnb work for you.
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