When writing your experience itinerary, it is important to paint a detailed picture so your guests know exactly what to expect when taking your experience.
The What we’ll do section of your Experience page should (1) communicate exactly how the experience will unfold and (2) make clear to guests how they will participate and/or interact during your experience.
Here are some common mistakes and best practices to keep in mind:
Itinerary is vague and generic
Example of what to avoid:
“I’ll teach you how to create cocktails from your own kitchen at home using simple techniques, tools, and ingredients that you easily find at your local supermarket or store”
What’s wrong with this example?
In this example, it is not clear what specific type of cocktails guests will be making or how the experience as a whole will flow from start to finish.
A better version would look like this:
“I’ll teach you how to create spicy Mezcal margaritas from your own kitchen at home using simple techniques, tools, and ingredients that you easily find at your local supermarket or store.
First, we’ll talk a little bit about the history of mezcal, and the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Then, we’ll make the cocktails together, step-by-step. After we’re done, I’ll leave you with a detailed set of instructions, so you can impress your friends at your next dinner party.”
Providing guests the choice of multiple options of different activities
Examples of what to avoid:
- “Tours will consist of hiking, walking, biking, or all three, depending on the interest of the guest.”
- “Choice of tours are as follows: (1) Waterfall Hike (2) Hidden Coves and Historic Walking Village Tour, or (3) Biking Tour by a Historic Dam Area”
Stick to one activity type or theme for each experience, rather than offering multiple options of different, unrelated activities. Guests should know exactly what to expect when booking your experience, and providing options leaves the plans uncertain.
In the above examples, the itinerary allows guests to choose from completely unrelated activities such as hiking vs biking.
While it’s okay to have some slight customizations based on specific group preferences (such as skill level, equipment, etc), it should be based on a single theme or activity that is clearly articulated.
Itinerary is completely left up to the guest
Example of what to avoid:
“Let’s cook!! We’ll use simple ingredients and provide step-by-step guidance for cooking the perfect meal. You can let me know whatever you would like to make, and I will show you how to cook an unforgettable meal!”
It’s best to stick to a single activity or theme with a clear and concise plan. Guests want to be confident in the host’s ability to create a curated and well thought-out experience.
Avoid leaving the itinerary completely up to the guest, because on any given experience you may encounter groups with conflicting interests, and guests should know what to expect upon arrival.
In the above example, too much of the itinerary is open-ended and left for the guests to decide.
Clearly lay out your itinerary from start to finish
Great example: airbnb.com/experiences/1691219
“This experience will start with me talking about my background and my personal journey and passion for greenery. I will then lead the class through the proper steps for propagating indoor houseplants. This won’t include outdoor gardening or edible plants.
Through show and tell, I will introduce you to various types of plants–from fiddle leaf figs to monsteras, succulents and cacti—and the best ways to cut them. We will then discuss what vessels work best to place them in, the water needed and how often to refresh or replace that water.
Then we’ll talk about how to transition the cutting from water to soil once the roots have developed. Lastly we will end with a Q&A to cover anything that might have been missed during the class.”
It can be helpful to use a story structure to paint a detailed picture of what your guests should expect to experience from start to finish. In the example above, it highlights the beginning, middle, and end in a clear and detailed manner so guests will know exactly what to expect. Remember that there isn’t just one way to write an itinerary in this manner. Here’s a great example of an itinerary that uses a bulleted breakdown structure instead of a standard paragraph format.
Stick to one activity type or theme for your experience
Great example: airbnb.com/experiences/1654079
“I tell stories and perform my own compositions on guitar, accompanied by jazzy vocals. My music is indie-folk with a touch of blues. I also open up the space for questions you might have about music, creativity, or how it is to live in Iceland. After 7 years of tour guiding, I have become a specialist in taking guests on a journey connecting music and my own life to the Icelandic culture and its peculiar local traditions…
There will be a new program every month so you can come back and enjoy the experience again with new music and stories.
Songs and stories about Iceland, creativity and my Swedish grandmother.
Songs and stories about Nina Simone, Berlin and my Icelandic grandmother.”
Try to stick to one activity type or theme, rather than several unrelated options for guests to choose from. In the example above, the theme is an intimate music performance within an Icelandic home. Slight customization is okay as well. In this case, the host also offers a rotation of music selections each month, so guests will know exactly what to expect when they book the experience during a specific month.
Overall, a clear and accurate experience itinerary not only makes for a smoother experience submission process but is also fundamental to a successful experience.