Today, Airbnb launches Animal Experiences – a brand new category that allows people to better understand animals through caring and expert hosts, setting a new standard for animal tourism. With 1,000 Experiences co-hosted by over 300 species and their human advocates, guests can now paddleboard with corgis, kayak with conservationists and learn alongside urban beekeepers or skateboard with a world record-winning bulldog! To celebrate the launch, legendary rock band KISS will be performing their first-ever at-sea concert for great white sharks off the southern coast of Australia.
According to research, sound is an important underwater stimulus and apparently great white sharks have a distinct preference for heavy metal and rock and roll! So Airbnb is offering eight people the opportunity to join them for the rock and roll gig of a lifetime. For just $50 per person, guests will be able to head out to sea and join the rock legends as they perform for great whites off Port Lincoln in South Australia.
On the ‘KISS Concert for Great White Sharks’ experience, guests will join host Matt Waller along with shark expert Dr. Blake Chapman and spend the day out on the water. They will learn about and observe marine animals [including sharks, dolphins, sea birds, sea lions and more] before heading out on the shark laden waters, where they’ll settle underwater in time for the rock out session. While guests descend into the boat’s ‘Aqua Sub’ viewing hull, KISS members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer, and Tommy Thayer will play their greatest hits up on deck, projected over and below water to attract the sharks.
“I’ve been helping people have meaningful — and memorable — experiences with great whites for years now, and you really get to see how all the sharks have different personalities. They even like different types of music!” said Waller. “The most important thing for me has always been to ensure that the encounters are responsible and ethical. For that, it helps that the humans are the ones in the cage,” he joked. “And now with KISS, we’re taking it to a whole new level — humans will be entertaining the sharks, not the other way around.”
Waller’s philosophy is emblematic of the vision for Airbnb Animal Experiences as a whole. Vetted against new, industry-leading animal welfare guidelines, each Experience in this new category will focus on creating respectful connections with wildlife that promote empathy and respect for the animals themselves.
This time we’re really going “down under” and making sure we give the great white sharks something they can sink their teeth into.
Paul Stanley, KISS
Airbnb Animal Experiences offer fresh new ways to connect with animals near and far, so that even busy urbanites can reconnect with the natural world. Each Experience in this new category will focus on creating respectful connections with wildlife that promote empathy and respect for the animals themselves. The intention is to give people a deeper understanding of animals so that they, in turn, can become animal advocates. To that end, guests on the ‘KISS Concert for Great White Sharks’ experience will also be accompanied by shark expert Dr. Blake Chapman of Australian Geographic.
“Research has indicated that low-frequency and pulsed sounds can be attractive to some shark species. Interestingly, different animals (even within the same species) appear to respond to sounds differently,” said Dr. Chapman. “Sharks are among the world’s most misunderstood animals. It’s important for people to learn that sharks are worthy of respect and protection. This unique experience offers an opportunity to see sharks in a different light, helping to foster greater appreciation for these iconic animals.”
All proceeds from the ‘KISS Concert for Great White Sharks’ experience will go towards the Australian Marine Conservation Society. To book ‘KISS at Sea with Great White Sharks’ visit www.airbnb.com/kiss on Tuesday October 15, 9am AEDT. The Experience will take place on November 18, and is available for $50 per person.
“With technology taking up so much of our lives, it’s easy to feel disconnected from nature and animals,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and Co-Founder. “Maybe this is why social media is dominated by animal memes. Life is better with animals, but for many busy people, looking at them through a screen is the closest they can get. With Airbnb Animal Experiences, locals and travellers are just a few clicks away from being alongside them in the real world, and unlike many interactions out there, in a responsible way.“
As part of Airbnb’s commitment to protect the welfare of animals across any Experience that features them, all Airbnb Animal Experiences are underpinned by a new, industry-leading animal welfare policy, backed by World Animal Protection. Ranging from afternoon tea with naughty sheep to multi-day safaris, Experiences are hosted by caring experts as an antidote to typical tourist attractions that are notorious for ethical concerns.
“We know people love animals and want to see and experience them when they travel, but we also know they most want to see animals in their natural setting in a way that considers their well-being,” said Simone Clarke, Executive Director World Animal Protection Australia and New Zealand. “This new animal welfare policy created in consultation with our animal welfare experts and the creativity and dedication of Airbnb will ensure that adventurers have many options to experience the beauty of animals in a way that considers their welfare first.”
Airbnb Animal Policy Highlights
We are the first major booking platform to offer a dedicated category of animal experiences underpinned by a progressive new animal welfare policy, co-authored with World Animal Protection. New highlights include:
- Wild animals: there should be no direct contact including, but not limited to, petting, feeding, or riding animals*
- Working animals: maximum one rider or 20% of the animal’s weight, never to be overworked
- Marine mammals: should never be in captivity*
- Broader host business: should not feature elephant rides, big cat interactions, illegal wildlife trade, sporting events such as canned and trophy hunting, animals performing for entertainment
- Responsible travel: no wild animals as selfie props or any negative training techniques
For more information on Airbnb Animal Experiences, visit www.airbnb.com/animals.