Airbnb has launched a program that will offer excursions from freelance hosts.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images
By Kerry Close
November 17, 2016

Airbnb doesn’t only want to offer you a place to stay; it now also wants to plan your trip.

The San Francisco-based company—which shook up the hotel industry by letting homeowners rent out rooms and homes—will now offer a service called Airbnb Trips, which will let freelance hosts lead excursions in various cities, Vanity Fair reported. These locally-focused outings can range from making in ramen in Japan to training with long-distance runners in Kenya.

Trips—which is now live on Airbnb.com—can range in length from a few hours, called single experiences, to several days, called immersions. As you search the website, you can filter available excursions based on category or by place you want to go. Company CEO Brian Chesky also told Vanity Fair that hosts could offer guests rides to various destinations, potentially pitting the service against ride hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.

The service initially launch in 12 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo. By next year, the company hopes to offer Trips in more than 50 metro areas.

This isn’t Airbnb’s first foray into offering guests a personalized tours of the city in which they’re staying. Since 2014, it’s offered a feature called Local Experiences in beta form, not immediately visible on its website or app. Among available excursions in Paris was a 90-minute walk through the 10th, 11th or 19th arrondissement, hosted by a local resident for $34 a person.

However, the new service comes as Airbnb is in the midst of fights over its right to operate in various major cities. Last week, the city of San Francisco ruled that Airbnb hosts could only list houses and apartments for rent for a maximum of 60 days a year, in a measure to prevent people from operating listings at the same time. And last month, Airbnb sued the state of New York after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill imposes hefty fines on hosts for listing empty residences in multiple-unit buildings for less than 30 days.

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