Airbnb today announced the appointment of Catherine Powell as Head of Airbnb Experiences. In this role, Powell will serve on Airbnb’s Executive Team and lead Airbnb’s Experiences business, managing a team spanning five continents that works to grow the number of high-quality offerings available to travelers and support Airbnb Experience Hosts.
A veteran of the Walt Disney Company, Powell has lived and worked around the world over the last two decades to deliver immersive experiences to guests. Her appointment comes as consumers, particularly Millennials and Generation Z, are increasingly choosing to spend their time and money on local, authentic things to do rather than on consumer goods. Euromonitor estimated that “consumer’s expenses with experiences should increase from $5.8 trillion in 2016 to $8 trillion in 2030.”
Launched in 2016, Airbnb Experiences have grown and succeeded: today, there are over 40,000 Experiences in more than 1,000 cities around the world. Airbnb Experiences immerse travelers in local communities by offering activities that are skilfully handcrafted and led by local experts. Experiences are unique, with many available only on Airbnb. And each Experience is reviewed to ensure it meets our quality standards before it is listed on the Airbnb platform.
“Today, people are prioritizing things to do, not things to buy,” said Airbnb Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Community Brian Chesky. “I believe Airbnb Experiences will be a massive business. Not everyone has a home to rent out, but everyone has a story, a passion or a talent they can share."
“Catherine is the perfect person to lead this business. Some people can come up with creative ideas. Others know how to run big teams and scale big businesses. Catherine can do both. She has worked around the world, managing tens of thousands of people and delivering amazing moments to millions more. She has the creativity and the operational excellence we need to help deliver more experiences to more people and we are incredibly lucky to have her.
In 2019, Airbnb launched new categories of Experiences including Airbnb Adventures, Cooking Experiences and Animal Experiences. For example, Cooking Experiences allow Guests to do anything from learning grandmas’ recipes to traditional Uzbek home-cooking, while Animal Experiences help people better understand animals through caring for them, guided by expert Hosts, and set a new standard for animal tourism.