Travelers are increasingly looking to get off the beaten path and reconnect with nature. Here, Hosts from rural areas around the world share how they turned their passions and expertise into a successful Airbnb Experience.
Rural tourism has never been more appealing, with travel trends showing that more and more people are yearning to get away from crowded tourist hotspots, often looking for conscious and sustainable travel experiences. This is reflected on the Airbnb platform, where thousands of Hosts across the world are offering unique experiences that allow travelers to connect to the countryside and natural world.
Airbnb Experiences are hosted by locals and often take travelers behind the scenes, or off the beaten path: think meeting farm animals at a family farm in Peru, jam-making in the English countryside, foraging and pasta-making in famiglia on the Amalfi Coast, or bee-keeping in the Australian bush. Each of these is a successful Airbnb Experience, giving you an idea of the range of authentic activities that travelers are interested in.
If you’re interested in hosting your own Airbnb Experience, we have a step-by-step guide on how to get started.
Hosting an experience
Your rural way of life or special skills may be second nature for you, but for many, your daily life is fascinating and inspiring. All you need is the passion and vision to turn your specialism into an experience that will attract guests from all over the globe. Many Hosts say that once they focus their attention on the possibilities, it becomes easy – and exciting – to begin.
Elizabeth and Esteban poured their passion, knowledge and family tradition as coffee growers into an experience on their coffee farm. “We have been coffee growers for five generations. Three years ago when we started hosting, none of the field workers believed that tourists would be interested in visiting them! – since guests started coming, land workers have started to learn English and value the land”, they say. “In order to connect the guests to the land, for each guest we plant a coffee tree with their name in our fields. Hosting this experience has been a way to honor my family, my history and culture.”
Kamal in India transformed his love for nature and passion for sharing his culture into a biking and hiking Experience through the Dhauladhar ranges in the Himalayas. “I never planned on being an experience Host, but I felt I needed to make something,” he said. “Visitors were traveling to my hometown only to visit McLeodGanj (known worldwide for the presence of the Dalai Lama), but were missing the natural richness of the mountains. Airbnb Experiences allow me to honor my hometown by sharing it with travelers”.
Entrepreneurship, your way
Hosting an experience on the Airbnb platform allows you to tap into a global community of guests, while still having total control over your pricing, schedule, group size and how you choose to structure your activity. There is no fee involved in creating and publishing your experience.
Emmanuelle, who offers an alpaca Experience in Normandy, France, says that the extra income she earns from hosting allows her to fund the activity she loves so much. “I am a nurse during the week but a passionate farmer during the weekends,” she says. “Hosting on Airbnb helped me to develop additional sources of revenue – without them I couldn’t finance this passion.”
For any experiences involving animals, Airbnb has clear Animal Welfare Guidelines, which were created in consultation with World Animal Protection. These guidelines serve as a practical tool in helping hosts to craft their experiences that involve interactions with both domesticated and working animals. Travelers who seek out rural experiences are often already interested and engaged in animal welfare, or issues of conservation and sustainability.
“Rural communities are the most incredible place for conservation of the cultural and material local heritage; they really are the living example of safeguarding biodiversity worldwide”, says Giacomo, who hosts a Slow Food experience in Amalfi, Italy. “However, rural communities represent a very fragile reality. We at Slow Food believe that travel experiences can be a way to support rural communities, learning about great practices and lifestyles through providing the guests with an opportunity to get in touch with something unique.”
Share your passion
One of the joys of hosting an experience is the opportunity to share what you love most, and transmit that passion to interested and engaged people from around the world.
Megaen is a Host in the Catskills, an hour outside of New York City. She started hosting her ‘Hugs, hike and hang with rescue goats’ experience after starting out as an accommodation Host. “I observed that every guest staying in our chalet was curious and delighted by the rescue goats we had at home, so I decided to host an experience and it has been a success since day one!”, she says. “If you host an experience that you love and that you are passionate about, people will feel it – so follow what you like, because you’ll find the way to make it sustainable in time”.
“We definitely host the experiences because we are passionate about sharing where food comes from with people from all over the world”, says Kat from Sterling , Scotland, who shares the experience of life on her small farm with her guests. “Scotland has a rich farming heritage, from big family estates to small, more traditional crofts like ours. We have the unique opportunity of connecting the past that is woven into our 17th-century farmstead into the modern local food movement, and that’s our real passion”.
A lasting connection
Now, more than ever, we are longing for meaningful person-to-person connections. Hosting an experience is a wonderful way to meet people from different cultures in a relaxed and memorable setting, creating links that last long after the experience is over.
“Every day is memorable – we spend our days with people from all over the world, with whom we share interests, passions and a love for nature, history and food, so the connection it’s built naturally”, say Giulia and Carlo, a couple who host an experience in the Prosecco Hills outside Milan. “Over the years we have met awesome people and we keep in touch with most of them. Last year, for example, we were invited to the wedding of an Australian couple who got engaged at our experience! We organized all the setting, we hired musicians and prepared the meal in the vineyards”, says Carlo.
The drive for connection inspires Antonia to go a step beyond her daily job as an equine therapist for children with disabilities, and host a horse whispering experience, which centers her love for animals and biodiversity. “People experience such a strong connection with me and the horses that it makes them reconsider the way they treat and think of animals”, she says. “Every experience is different – it’s never boring because, in my opinion, if the experience is aligned with yourself and if you are really enthusiastic about what you do, guests will connect with you and the soul of the experience”. Find out more about how to host your own experience.