Online accommodation marketplace Airbnb has launched a new platform focusing on offering travellers the ability to shape their experiences and the people they meet during their travels, in addition to booking accommodation. The new Trips platform features three key areas – Experiences, Places and Homes – with the addition of Flights and Services options planned to be added in the future.

Trips is designed to offer a convenient way to access unique experiences in particular destinations, with examples cited by the company including making violins in Paris, Samurai swordplay workshops and receiving recommendations from locals on lesser-known activities and places in their home cities.

A total of about 500 experiences in 12 cities are currently available, covering Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Nairobi, Cape Town, Tokyo and Seoul. Meanwhile, hosts in these 12 and a further 39 cities worldwide are able to request to list their experience offerings on the platform.

Speaking about Trips, Airbnb CRO Brian Chesky, said: “Until now, Airbnb has been about homes. Today, Airbnb is launching Trips, bringing together where you stay, what you do and the people you meet all in one place. We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip.”

Meanwhile, the Places aspect of the platform features insider guidebooks featuring recommendations from locals on the top places to visit, with 100 available at launch in six cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Havana, Nairobi, Detroit and Seoul, with more expected to be included in the future. A further one million individual recommendations worldwide from Airbnb hosts are available on the platform. The company has also entered into a partnership with company Detour to offer audio walking tours for select destinations.

In addition to the Experiences, Places and Homes sections, Trips will also introduce a new identity authentication process, enabling hosts and guests to scan official identification along with a selfie photograph. The new measure is a step forward in promoting safety and risk management when using the platform, a key concern among business travel planners.

The launching of a user-powered travel experience platform follows the recent launch of Parkroyal’s new smartphone app offering more than 1,000 user-curated guides. Meanwhile over the past two months, Airbnb has partnered with Delta Air Lines and Qantas to offer rewards when booking through the service.