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Airbnb launches local-led Experiences neighborhood tours in NYC

Neighborhood residents can now lead off-the-beaten-path tours for Airbnb

Airbnb guests walk through a Harlem clothes market.

Airbnb is expanding its services offered in New York City with the launch of a new initiative, called Trips, which in part connects community members knowledgable on particular topics with Airbnb users. The first NYC-based tours will roll out in Harlem today.

The bookable, local-led tours, known as Experiences, “go beneath the surface and help guests discover local treasures that typical guidebooks and tours might miss,” per a press release. The neighborhood choice is notable, since Airbnb has been accused of accelerating gentrification in New York City; with this program, the company is making an effort to connect with the culture and longtime residents of Harlem.

“New York City is home to dozens of unique neighborhoods and communities, so we wanted to guarantee we had a hyperlocal and community-driven approach to launching Trips,” Airbnb rep Peter Schottenfels told Curbed about Trips’ NYC roll-out.

So what kind of experiences does the new initiative provide Airbnb guests? Harlem Experiences that are currently bookable include a history of street fashion in the neighborhood with Dapper Dan, “Hip Hop’s fashion godfather”; a freestyle rap workshop “near the legendary street corner of 106th and Park” with Harlem-born rapper Bodega Bamz; and a bike tour of the neighborhood with I Bike Harlem founder Maxine Daniels.

Harlem locals who wish to lead one of these excursions can log their request through Airbnb. A rep for the company confirms that Experience hosts get 80 percent of the cost of their workshop, with the remaining percentage going to Airbnb. The cost for Experiences start at $30 per person.

The Trips initiative first launched in November 2016 in other global cities like San Francisco, Tokyo, and Havana.