Online Lodging Company Offers Virtual Travel Experiences

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. recoup / rɪˈkup / (v) – to get back something that is gone

    The government is helping local business owners recoup the income they lost during the crisis.

  2. immerse / ɪˈmɜrs / (v) – to make oneself become involved in a particular activity

    I wanted to forget my problems, so I immersed myself in work.

  3. catch a glimpse of (someone/something) / kæʧ ə glɪmps ʌv / (idiom) – to see someone or something quickly

    I caught a glimpse of cherry blossoms when the train passed by a couple of trees.

  4. fulfilling / fʊlˈfɪl ɪŋ / (adj) – describing something that gives satisfaction

    My job is very fulfilling, so it looks like I’ll be staying with this company for a long time.

  5. core / kɔr / (n) – a very important part or quality of something

    Excellent customer service is the core of our business.


Read the text below.

Online lodging company Airbnb has announced that it will include virtual sessions in its Airbnb Experiences, a feature that lets Airbnb hosts design activities for customers.

Because of worldwide travel restrictions, the company has started to offer these experiences virtually. Hosts from more than 30 countries will offer various virtual experiences, and customers can enjoy the sessions through a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The cost of each session ranges from $1 to $40.

The virtual sessions can help Airbnb hosts recoup profits they lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the sessions can give customers an opportunity to immerse themselves in different cultures or learn new hobbies from their homes.

Some of the online sessions feature activities led by Olympians. One is American bobsledder Lauren Gibbs, who lets fans catch a glimpse of a bobsledding medalist’s daily life. Another is UK triathlete Alistair Brownlee. The athlete invites fellow cyclists to go on virtual bike outings, with stops in Yorkshire, London, Leeds, Rio, and Kona.

Other virtual sessions include cooking and cocktail-making lessons, comedy shows, working out with gym trainers, and beauty workshops.

According to the company, the virtual experiences are meant to make staying home more fulfilling and entertaining. Head of Airbnb Experiences Catherine Powell said that human connection is the core of the company. Because of this, the company aims to provide an opportunity for its hosts to digitally connect with customers amid the global health crisis.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Would you be interested to try any of the sessions? Why or why not?
• Should the company make the virtual sessions permanently available to customers? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think effective human connection can be achieved virtually? Why or why not?
• What are other ways to achieve human connection? Discuss.