Discover Toronto and Vancouver With Airbnb’s Guidebooks

This year visitors to Vancouver and Toronto have a new way to see the cities: Airbnb’s Guidebooks, part of a new strategy to get guests to live like locals and avoid the tourist pitfalls.

This year visitors to Vancouver and Toronto have a new way to see cities: Airbnb’s Guidebooks. In Canada they have Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal covered with several thousand places listed. This is part of a new strategy to get guests to live like locals and avoid the tourist pitfalls. Airbnb describes the guides as “passports” to places from locals (or other members who have visited the area). This does put Airbnb into competition with services like TripAdvisor and Yelp and it’s still unknown if members will be interested enough in the service to continue using Airbnb apps throughout their trips.

Worldwide, the Guidebooks started with 3 million tips from 23 of the most popular cities on Airbnb: Austin, Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Buenos Aires, Lake Tahoe, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Mexico City, Miami, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, San Francisco, Seoul, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Venice and Washington, DC.

Related to this is the the neighbourhood feature works. It covers around 690 specific areas within 23 cities, the idea is to try to introduce visitors to more areas that they might not have considered.

[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder/CEO”]The number one reason people chose to travel on Airbnb is they want to live like a local. They don’t want to be tourists stuck in long lines, fighting with the crowds to see the same thing as everyone else[/pullquote]

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As well, as travelers look at individual listings, Airbnb’s machine learning models come up with additional places people might like that are similar, based on factors like room types, number of guests, price ranges, and number of times you visit a listing, to come up with additional places you might be interested in based on what you’re looking for. They say that with several months testing, they’ve seen a dramatic increase in successful bookings.

The technology behind this comes from Trip4Real, a company that Airbnb had partnered with for several years and acquired in September 2016. Trip4Real is a travel-focused startup from Barcelona whose business model was built on offering activities in cities around the world. Its slogan “experience a city like a local” sounds like the message Airbnb has been pushing for some time now. Trip4Real website promised visitors thousands of local experiences that were “made by locals” in cities around the world with the goal of helping travelers find things off the beaten path. This meshed with Airbnb’s vision to help travelers avoid cookie-cutter trips by including locally-sourced info about neighbourhoods, something that started to show up when it launched redesigned apps earlier this year.

Back in October 2015, Airbnb started testing “Journeys” a way to pick a city and let the company book accommodations and pair that with meals, transportation and a local host to show you around town. This lead to apps like the short-lived Airbnb Trips app for Android, and work continues on integrating human expertise and machine-learning.

As well as this, Airbnb is exploring other ways to use local knowledge to combat potential problems, such as the new feedback tool that is coming out this year, it allows neighbours of Airbnb properties to comment on the behavior of guests, as a way of combating ‘party houses’.

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For your next visit to Toronto or Vancouver, consider checking out Airbnb’s new guidebooks, you might find some unexpected gems.