Airbnb Launches Online Experiences, Including Virtual Penguin Meets and Magic Classes

The travel company is adapting its Experiences platform amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Get ready for a new kind of Airbnb experience. Courtesy Airbnb

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of daily life, as many who are able are staying at home and practicing social distancing. As we all stay inside for the next several weeks, the mere thought of heading out on a long walk (while staying six feet away from all people!) for an hour a day feels like the closest we’re getting to any kind of travel in the near future.

While travel in the traditional sense might not be in the cards for a while, there are still ways to bring a little jet set life into your own home, whether it be virtual tours, hotel-inspired self-care or any kind of wanderlust-related virtual steaming.

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While in-person travel isn’t in the realm of possibility right now, Airbnb is ready to let you take an immersive, virtual trip from the safety of your own home. The company is launching a new set of programming by adapting its AirBnb (ABNB) Experiences into an entirely virtual activity.

Airbnb Experiences originally launched in 2016; they’re unique, immersive activities that are designed and offered by local hosts. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, they are suspended through at least the end of April, but the new Online Experiences offer a digital version, so that people can learn “learn a new skill, safely connect with others or pursue an interest.”

Sheep meditation has never felt so right. Courtesy Airbnb

As of today, there are over 50 curated Online Experiences, led by hosts from more than 30 countries around the globe. The Experiences range in price from $1 to $40, and are hosted via Zoom. This also means many of the Airbnb hosts who are suffering financially right now can net some extra income.

“Human connection is at the core of what we do,” Catherine Powell, Head of Airbnb Experiences, said in a release. “With so many people needing to stay indoors to protect their health, we want to provide an opportunity for our hosts to connect with our global community of guests in the only way possible right now, online.”

Experiences currently include a virtual bike tour with Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee (Yorkshire), a meditation led by a Buddhist monk (Osaka), an Irish dance masterclass (Galway) and a fortune reading class (New York) . There’s also a guided meditation with sheep (!!) led by a host from Loch Lomond and a virtual penguin meet all the way from Cape Town.

A penguin moment. Courtesy Airbnb

You can include a whole group in the workshop, and there’s the option to reserve private experience or request a specific date for your virtual travel moment.

Airbnb also partnered with a number of local organizations (such as SAGE, NCOA and Associazione Nazionale Alpini—Sezione di Milan) in order to curate specific Experiences for particularly isolated communities, including the elderly, free of charge.

Even if you’re not particularly taken with one of the Experiences currently offered, keep an eye out on the programming—Airbnb promises there will be thousands more made available in the next few weeks.

Airbnb Launches Online Experiences, Including Virtual Penguin Meets and Magic Classes