Airbnb is introducing a series of virtual experiences for couples matched on Bumble. Digital adventurers can embark on experiences in a group or private setting to events such as a tour of a New Zealand sheep farm, a cooking lesson with a professional chef, or a sangria-making class taught by Drag Queens. Airbnb created the experiences based off of its most frequently booked specials and turned them into virtual date opportunities. Prices range from $69-$688 depending on the date chosen and whether the couple wants a private or group setting. To encourage users to sign up for a date, Bumble is holding a contest to give 100 app users a free first-date experience. To apply, users have to submit their answer to the question “If you could plan a first date anywhere in the world, where would it be and what would you do?”
Sharing an online experience is not only a great conversation starter, but has become a new reality as travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders impact people from meeting in-person. Creating a partnership based on virtual dates demonstrates Airbnb’s and Bumble’s response to business being disrupted during COVID-19. Since the crisis began, Bumble has encouraged digital dates for its users, introducing “virtual dating tools” and letting users opt in for video chats. While Bumble has been expanding its dating options, Airbnb has continued growing by focusing on its digital presence to connect with homebound travelers, according to a Gartner report. Though Airbnb has suffered significant financial losses as travel bookings ceased, turning to a digital partnership could help it recover. Bumble users who have positive virtual date experiences could be inspired to book more Airbnb adventures in the future, transitioning the travel company’s new virtual community back into a physical one post-pandemic.
Airbnb and Bumble are pairing up to create a new era of unconventional dates. The virtual ventures could be their answer to staying top of mind with users and providing an escape amidst the laws of lockdown—and if the first date is successful—perhaps users will return for a second one.