Airbnb becomes full-service travel company with new offerings

By Heather Somerville
A man walks past a logo of Airbnb after a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, November 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo

By Heather Somerville

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Airbnb plans to offer guests the opportunity to plan and book every aspect of their trip, from meals to dance classes and dirt biking, marking the most dramatic expansion of the company's home- and apartment-renting service since its founding eight years ago, its CEO said on Thursday.

The company will offer travelers the chance to create a hand-crafted itinerary, for a couple of days or a couple of hours, to provide tourists with a more authentically local experience, said Airbnb Chief Executive Brian Chesky

"You immerse and you join the local community," Chesky said.

The new services, unveiled during the kickoff of a three-day event hosted by Airbnb in downtown Los Angeles, dovetails with a campaign the company launched earlier this year to encourage travelers to skip the big tourist sites - and hotels - and instead live like locals when abroad.

(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Bernard Orr)