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Airbnb tests booking your entire trip with new ‘Journeys’ service

Airbnb is always experimenting with new ways to create meaningful experiences, now Airbnb is testing a new service that will give people something to do in new cities and, in the process, forever dispel the notion that its platform is just about helping people find a couch to crash on in a kindly stranger’s apartment. It’s called Journeys, and it’s currently available as invite-only to people who want to visit San Francisco in December, but haven’t yet booked their trips.

Journeys offers full three-to-five-day travel plans to its selected testers. Through it, Airbnb will offer a free meal during each day; planned excursions devoted to San Francisco’s nightlife, natural wonders, or food scene; agent-selected rooms; and a Lyft ride from the airport to wherever the person is staying. These trips will reportedly cost between $500 and $750 for the individuals invited to use it.

Airbnb was founded to give people a cheap place to stay. Now it’s operating much like a hotel company — and, with Journeys, a full-fledged travel service — that doesn’t happen to own the rooms its customers are renting. This reduces overhead, allows the company to avoid training a full staff for each rental, and otherwise gives it a nimbleness that traditional lodging companies are lacking.