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Economy & Business

Airbnb Eyes Services That Compete With Travelocity, Yelp And TripAdvisor


Some other news now. The website Airbnb is extending its ambitions. Airbnb has changed the way that many people travel, allowing them to stay in the homes of strangers. Now, the company wants to get its hands on the rest of your travel experience. Yesterday, at the company's conference in Los Angeles, it announced new services. Airbnd wants to compete with companies like Travelocity, Trip Advisor and Yelp. And they don't want to stop there. Here's Jacob Margolis of member station KPCC.

JACOB MARGOLIS, BYLINE: In an old theater in downtown Los Angeles packed with Airbnb fans from around the world, CEO Brian Chesky took to the stage to announce their latest products.


BRIAN CHESKY: Welcome to the world of the trips, where we put homes, experiences and places together all in one place.

MARGOLIS: Airbnb's betting big on two new key features. First, they want to offer guidebooks for cities, written by locals. Second, Airbnb will have people offering guided tours in places like London, Paris, Miami and Los Angeles. These tours could be multi-day trips to, say, different food spots or to do something like go truffle hunting. Here's Chesky again.

CHESKY: We want to become the kind of company where, when you think of travel, you think of us, and you think that you can go to one place and everything can be taken care of, you can book everything, and you can immerse in local communities.

MARGOLIS: Cesky says that they also want to get into dealing with flights and potentially an on-demand car service and possibly groceries delivered to you at your rental.

CHESKY: I think, five years from now, you're going to think of Airbnb as where you go, where you stay, what you do, how you get there. Think of it as an end-to-end experience.

MARGOLIS: But as Airbnb sets deeper roots into communities, not all of the relationships have been nice and rosy. They've gone toe to toe in court with places like San Francisco and New York over rental regulations in housing-strapped markets. And this year, they have worked to smooth some of those relationships. Airbnb says it will help some cities monitor and shut down hosts who break rules, but it's unclear whether they've done enough to satisfy everyone. Los Angeles, for example, is one of Airbnb's biggest markets in the country, and they're still figuring out what they're going to do about short-term rentals. I'm Jacob Margolis for NPR News in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.