Customer Stories

Airbnb Experiences offer unique options for offsites and team building

If you are looking for unique and creative team-building activities and off-site meetings, consider an Airbnb Experience.

A team of 14 people from Thumbtack recently participated in Airbnb’s “Improv by the Bay” experience, a half-day improvisational workshop in San Francisco led by Chris Sams, a coach with BATS Improv Company.

“This experience was very different from what we’ve done in the past, which usually involves going to a happy hour or team dinner,” said Jorge Simosa, a software engineer with Thumbtack, a digital platform that connects local professionals with customers for projects and services. “This definitely put people out of their comfort zone, and changed the expectations around team outings.”

The team-building exercise “gave us a chance to try something new that involved a different type of skill and have some fun while we were at it,” Simosa added. “We also got a chance to meet some of our other cross-functional team members who we don’t normally see day to day, since we sit in different areas of the office. It was nice to catch up with them and experience this together.”

It was an opportunity to go somewhere different and try something new, and that was pretty cool.

Jorge Simosa, Thumbtack

Airbnb Experiences are unique team-building activities hosted by local experts like chefs, artists, and adventurers. While experiences vary by location and cover a broad range of possibilities, all are one-of-a-kind activities that are rooted in the local community and designed to share the host’s passion, perspective, and expertise.

Gain a fresh, new perspective

Coworkers participating in a team-building Airbnb Experience together gain insider knowledge and behind-the-scenes access to local people, places, and activities—and they’ll have an opportunity to interact and work with each other from a fresh, new perspective.

Seven people from the Customer Growth team at Facebook spent half a day on the San Francisco Bay as participants in the “Sailing Regatta” Airbnb Experience, sailing on a racing yacht from the 2003 International America’s Cup Class hosted by captain Jon Buser and his crew.

“As part of the experience, the crew engages you and lets you participate using the grinders, which lift the sails and get you to move,” said Ursula Llabres, Head of Customer Growth, Workplace by Facebook, North America. “You are not just sitting and witnessing the sailing experience, you are actually helping to sail the boat and at the same time getting an appreciation for what the America’s Cup racing team had to go through.”

“Everybody took a turn, there was not a single person who did not grind, and everybody had each other’s back,” Llabres added. “That was very telling in terms of the spirit of the team. Not a single person was just sitting for the ride. That was wonderful to watch in terms of how it translates for our work. All of us step up to the challenge. Another thing we discovered is everybody learned really quickly and everybody did their best.”

Sailing and improv are just two of the Airbnb Experiences available for team-building activities in urban centers around the world. Experiences span categories including arts, entertainment, food and drink, lifestyle, nature, social impact, technology, business, fashion, history, music, nightlife, sports, and wellness. Experience hosts and activities are carefully vetted by Airbnb, and since their launch in November 2016, close to 90 percent receive five-star reviews from participants. About 15,000 experiences are currently available and thousands more are in the pipeline.

It was really easy to execute, to plan the logistics, and get everybody to participate. I really liked that ease from idea to delivery.

Ursula Llabres, Facebook

“One of the main values I saw in this experience was the uniqueness,” said Simosa. “This is not something you normally look for when thinking about team bonding or off-sites. It was an opportunity to go somewhere different and try something new, and that was pretty cool. It was also very personalized. Being able to work directly with the host, who is very passionate about what he does, and allowing him to fine tune his own process to meet the needs and interest levels of everyone on the team, got everyone on the same page quickly. It really maximized our opportunity to practice those skills and connect with each other.”

Make it easy on yourself

Using Airbnb Experiences for team events and off-sites streamlines the planning process for those tasked with organizing the activity.

“After the event, I was very glad we went through this experience,” Llabres said. I felt it was a really easy way to do a team-building event that didn’t take the entire day and offered a different type of experience that was very simple to plan on my part. It was really easy to execute, to plan the logistics, and get everybody to participate. I really liked that ease from idea to delivery.”

For Llabres, that was not the only benefit of booking an Airbnb Experience for her team event. “I loved seeing each individual smile and really enjoy the experience,” she said. “That in itself was a personal satisfaction of mine, to see people’s surprised faces, their laughter, their true enjoyment of this experience, which at the end of the day is what I was hoping for.”