(#wanderlusttips #Airbnb) Airbnb just raised $1 billion in debt financing from a group of major U.S. banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., and Bank of America Corp., to expand and develop new services.
Airbnb is currently valued at $25.5 billion after a $1.5 billion funding round a year ago. The company is currently working to become a more full-service travel company, creating add-on travel services in hopes to grow beyond home-sharing.
Vacation rental website Airbnb Inc. wants to own more of people’s travel experiences. The company has been testing a service for tourists to book add-on services, said Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky.
Tests have included meals prepared by personal chefs, restaurant reservations, art gallery tours, and bicycle rentals, according to people familiar with the trial. Customers will be able to book the services when they reserve a room or home rental on Airbnb, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. The company expects to introduce the feature this year, said one of the people.
Airbnb refers to the project internally as “magical trips,” a person familiar with the matter said. The name evokes Walt Disney, one of Chesky’s idols. Chesky is overseeing the initiative, along with Joe Zadeh, the vice president of product, and it’s one of the company’s top priorities for the year, the person said.
So far, Airbnb doesn’t offer any other add-on travel services, but does provide Guidebooks, which are guides to select cities created by Airbnb hosts.