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With 1.5 million annual bookings, is your museum missing out on Airbnb Experiences?

Airbnb describes their Airbnb Experiences as ‘activities designed and led by inspiring locals. They go beyond regular tours or classes by immersing guests in each host’s unique world. It’s an opportunity for anyone to share their hobbies, skills, or expertise without needing an extra room’.

Airbnb Experiences range from photo shoots in iconic parks to graffiti walking tours to a session with a personal shopper.

Having launched in November 2016, these experiences had 1.5 million annual bookings in their first year with 5000 Experiences available across 60 destinations.

This equates to some serious money with the most booked experiences earning their hosts more than $200,000 per annum.

So how are museums getting involved with Airbnb Experiences?

A quick search on the Airbnb Experience website finds both independent tour guides and institutions offering museum experiences through Airbnb.

The Natural History Museum of Utah, for example offers a Private Tour of Utah’s Dinosaurs, this is a 45-60 minute tour of Past Worlds exhibit, followed by an exclusive access tour of the museums Paleo Prep Lab where their paleontology volunteers do the meticulous work of preparing fossils recovered from the field for further study.

Their Airbnb Experience description says they ‘are currently excavating a newly found 75 Million-Year-Old relative to the T-Rex! See him now before he goes on display’.

What this offers for $21 (which includes a museum ticket) is a premium visit that goes beyond the normal museum experience, something really special. You can imagine this being an incredible gift for a Dinosaur mad child!

Other Airbnb Experiences in the museum space are offered by independent tour guides.

These often seem to highlight one part of the museum collection, for example, Remarkable Women at the British Museum or Image of the Black in Tate Britain. Some go beyond the usual museum visit with extra activities such as Draw With Me At the Met or the Stockholm Viking Experience.

As with the Natural History Museum of Utah, these offer more than a typical visit.

Museums may want to look at developing their own premium offer for Airbnb or could prefer to partner with external partners, but with more than 60 million visitors to their website, Airbnb offers both a marketing channel and the potential for additional income.

Has your museum thought about offering an Airbnb Experience? What special experience could you develop for an Airbnb audience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock / Screenshot from Airbnb

About the author – Jim Richardson

Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. He has worked as a consultant to the museum sector for more than twenty years advising on technology and leadership. Jim now splits his time between running innovation consultancy for museums and leading our museum conferences around the globe.

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