Brand USA and Airbnb have announced a new partnership designed to allow guests to explore the USA from the comfort of home through Online Experiences featuring the unique cultures, cuisines, and people from across the United States. Along with a new landing page highlighting a special collection of Airbnb Online Experiences that showcase the unique possibilities of the United States, Brand USA also introduces five Online Experiences. These Online Experiences hosted by storytellers from United Stories—a Brand USA campaign launched in early 2019 as an open invitation for travelers to visit the USA, experience the warmth of the American people, and engage with the vast diversity of U.S. destinations—range from culinary traditions of the South to the art of spoken word poetry.
“Airbnb Online Experiences gives us a new platform to share warm and welcoming stories about U.S. destinations. As the world longs to travel again, we are delighted to help travelers understand places more deeply, meet real people, and uncover local perspectives to activate their wanderlust,” says Tom Garzilli, chief marketing officer, Brand USA. “It’s a fun and safe way to showcase what makes this country unique, and invite international travelers to virtually experience our people and destinations first-hand.”
Created at the start of the pandemic as a way to allow people to connect, travel virtually and earn income from home, Airbnb Online Experiences are unique, handcrafted activities that immerse guests into each host’s unique world. Hosts include small business owners, entrepreneurs, and creatives who want to connect with travelers and introduce them to their community.
“As those of us in travel and tourism look to support the nation’s economic recovery, we are as proud as we are privileged to be partnering with Brand USA to make it possible for people all over the world to virtually visit the United States via Airbnb’s Online Experiences. These Online Experiences will help virtual visitors experience the incredible natural beauty of our lands, the cultural mosaic that makes America so special and, our greatest natural resource of all, our people. Over the years, millions of people across the globe have visited the U.S. and connected with our country by being welcomed into the homes of our incredible community of Home hosts. In this moment we are in, where there are challenges to cross-border travel, this initiative will allow Airbnb hosts to open their virtual doors for people to experience the U.S. Our hope is that these Online Experiences will facilitate deeper connections between hosts and guests and encourage a future in real life trip,” said Chris Lehane, senior vice president for global public policy and communications at Airbnb.
Featured Brand USA storytellers
· Explore Hidden Reefs in Hawaii (Hawaii) – Hilo, Hawaii is a place where the world of people, science, nature, and discovery beautifully converge, and pro-surfer-turned-ocean-scientist, Cliff Kapono, encapsulates what it means to exist as one with the island. During the Online Experience, Kapono will lead a virtual tour of one of Hawai’i’s most diverse coral gardens, Honoli’i Beach Park, as well as speak to the importance of responsible tourism, how science and nature merge on the Big Island, and how sustainability is vital to one of the most inspiring places in the world.
LGBTQ Historical Bar Crawl (New York) – History buff Michael Ventriello made a business from his passion and is the founder and lead tour guide of Christopher Street Tours. He will share the history-making stories and significance behind three Greenwich Village bars, including the events that gave birth to the modern-day gay rights movement and leading up to the historical Stonewall Uprising. Participants will get to raise a glass, play trivia, and learn about the city’s iconic queer history at famous LGBTQ bars such as Julius’, the Stonewall Inn, and Cubbyhole. With this Online Experience, participants will gain a greater sense of New York City’s LGBTQ history, American LGBTQ history, as well as a new group of friends from around the world.
Nashville Cocktails & Distillery Tour (Tennessee) – Explore the past and present of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery with host and distillery lead mixologist Rachel Ramirez, who will share the story on how Tennessee whiskey became world-famous. Originating in 1860 and created by distilling pioneer Charles Nelson, Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey was the first and largest selling brand of Tennessee Whiskey in the world in its pre-Prohibition heyday. Revived by Charles’ triple great grandsons, Andy and Charlie Nelson, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery made its 21st century debut in Nashville in 2014, where the brothers have continued this generations long tradition of distilling, perfecting it through the years. As part of their Online Experience, the team will guide participants through the making of an Old Fashioned, share a few mixology how to’s, and walk participants through the whiskey distilling process.
Southern Food with a Pro Chef (Mississippi) – Chef Nick Wallace of Wallace Culinary is a resource for local farmers, regional chefs, restauranteurs, and families that are as passionate about cooking food that is close to home. Join Chef Nick—whose Mississippi roots and classical French training have informed his unique take on Modern Mississippian cuisine—and submerge yourself in the authentic Southern notion of soulful food culture. This Online Experience is ideal for special occasions, especially Sunday dinners, as well as for someone that really enjoys, or may be a little curious, about Southern food. You may also book a private session with the menu of your choice.
Art and Spoken Word
Spoken Word Poetry (Ohio) – Spoken word poet, artist, and filmmaker Chris Webb—designated one of the Most Interesting People in 2019 by Cleveland Magazine—will introduce guests to the performative literary genre of Spoken Word Poetry, and how he uses his craft to ignite and promote healing through his own personal circumstances. Webb will lead participants in creating their own spoken word poetry and hone public speaking skills in a workshop setting. Participants will leave this Online Experience with confidence in their ability to express themselves, and a willingness to further develop their individual unique voice in, and outside of the art form of Spoken Word.