Airbnb has announced that it’s investing $5 million in its Experiences program, and will expand the initiative to include 200 cities in the United States this year.
Experiences is part of an push by Airbnb to expand beyond offering just short-term rentals in recent years. In 2016, the company launched Airbnb Trips, which provides activities for tourists in addition to a place to stay. The initiative began in three areas: Experiences, Places, and Homes, and indicated that it would be adding Flights and Services in the future.
The company says that it currently offers more than 4,000 experiences across the world — 1,000 of which are in the US — in 50 cities around the world, which range from surfing trips in Los Angeles, to nature photography in Nairobi, to Samurai sword training in Itabashi.
The company says that its bookings have grown 2,000 percent since this time last year, with Experiences growing 500 percent. That’s good for the company, because it stands to benefit from the program’s higher profit margins, according to FastCompany (via Engadget). The company has added additional features in recent months, such as to pay for a rental booking in installments, split payments in a group, book restaurant reservations, and added new filters for guests with accessibility needs, all of which help encourage more people to use the platform. This growth is important for the company, as it’s expected to file for an IPO this year, according to Recode.