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Airbnb is removing dozens of Experiences, canceling future reservations

Less than one month after launching its pop-culture aligned
exclusive Icons experiences
in partnership with companies such as Disney, Pixar
and Marvel, Airbnb has alerted dozens of individual tour and experience operators
around the world that their experiences are being pulled from the platform.

“We’ve made the difficult decision to remove your Experience
from Airbnb,” Airbnb wrote in an email sent to the affected operators on

The company goes on to say the decision was made after it
evaluated the experience – considering “the Host’s expertise, the activity’s
uniqueness and local relevance, and guests’ rating and reviews” – and determined
it does not “meet our standards.”

Airbnb will remove these listings on June 20, and
reservations for June 20 and beyond will be canceled and refunds sent to guests. PhocusWire has contacted Airbnb for more details on this decision and will update this story as necessary.

In the Tourpreneur Facebook group, dozens of operators
expressed shock at receiving the news.

“They are removing my experiences which had the most highest
rating on Airbnb. I have no idea why they are doing so… I am sad because I was
getting [a] good amount of bookings through Airbnb,” wrote Shwetank Tripathi, an
India-based operator who received the notice that his walking tour is being
removed. Tripathi has listed on Airbnb since 2019 and also provides a food
tour, which is not being removed.   

Operators also expressed concern in the Facebook group about losing all of the customer reviews that are part of their Airbnb listing.

Earlier this month Airbnb
unveiled its new Icons experiences – prompting mixed reaction from across the industry – and hinted the pop-culture aligned
offerings are a sign of what is to come.

In the company’s call with financial analysts to discuss its
Q1 2024 financial results, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said, “”Icons is like we’re a car company
and we’re starting with a Formula One car. And very few people can experience a
Formula One car, but it captures the magic, it captures the demand. It really
expands the brand and increases our permission to be able to go into
experiences, and then you kind of move down market. And one of our goals is
going to be to bring the magic of Icons to everyone. … We’ve really paved the
way for next year.”

Airbnb first launched
its Experiences division in 2016 and for the first few years regularly talked
about its growth strategy
. Then one year ago, in April 2023, the company
announced it was pausing
submissions of new listings
of experiences.

Airbnb is
offering operators whose listings are scheduled to be removed 30 days to appeal
that decision.

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