At Home with Airbnb: class is in session

“Did you know kaftans were originally worn by men?” asks Narresh Kukreja, of the design label Shivan & Narresh. No, I didn’t. But I’m too busy trying to duplicate the sketch of a kaftan that Shivan Bhatia has simply drawn for us on a croqui (that’s French for a sort of skeletal design). I’m on a Zoom name alongside with a number of trend and design fanatics attending the duo’s At Home with Airbnb debut. It is an hour-long digital workshop the place they take individuals via the fundamentals of trend illustrations — methods to create a swimsuit, one thing to cowl up with, and to slide into for night drinks. “The underlying idea is to impart our knowledge to a small batch of guests, where we can connect with them freely and take them through the whole process of sketching out a simple thought into a visually-appealing representation,” says Bhatia, talking of the expertise he co-hosts.

At Home with Airbnb, launched this month as a part of the platform’s Online Experiences providing, is particular to India. Each session is hosted by celebrities and influencers. Among the chosen seven is health coach Nam-Wook Kang, credited with getting actor Deepika Padukone into wedding ceremony photos-ready form. “I will show you exercises that require minimum equipment,” he guarantees, “or that use objects found at home.” Kang has honed his set over a number of months of lockdown whereas internet hosting periods on his personal social media handles. Then there’s chef Sandeep Sreedharan, of Goa’s Mahé restaurant fame, who intends to make use of “this as an opportunity to demystify the jargon around sustainable cooking”. He’ll strategy his 60-minute periods, one ingredient at a time.

Virtual benefit

Airbnb’s new advertising marketing campaign hopes to capitalise on the recognition of its Online Experiences programme, the place hosts the world over have discovered revolutionary methods to showcase their cities, even beneath lockdown. It noticed a three-fold enhance in the variety of bookings from India in its first month (May) alone.

It is vital to notice that 51% of Airbnb India’s enterprise comes from Indians travelling throughout the nation. So the goal behind the celebrity-driven strategy is to spice up these numbers. “The idea of Online Experiences was to bring travel to your doorstep at a time when you cannot step out,” says Simran Kodesia, Communications Lead at Airbnb India. “With At Home with Airbnb, it is another level of gratification. You get to say, ‘I learnt how to set the table from Devika Narain, the lady who worked on Virat and Anushka’s wedding’. It also helps our celebrity hosts to stay relevant and connected with their followers and fans.”

True. Right via my session, regardless of the technical and sensible hitches that appear inherent to such convention calls, there was a excessive diploma of private interactivity. Like a digital classroom with the tutor calling every pupil by title, asking to see their work and responding to it.

Calligraphy with Sanjana Chatlani of The Bombay Lettering Company

Calligraphy with Sanjana Chatlani of The Bombay Lettering Company

Real world strikes

But Airbnb is not the one participant in the net experiences market. There’s an abundance of health, artwork, dance and culinary experiences on-line. There are additionally firms like Delhi-based MyScoot, and platforms akin to Pytm Insider the place actions are accessible. Which begs the query: are these digital experiences — with and with out celebrities internet hosting them — viable in the long term? “In theory, yes,” says Divia Thani, Editor, Condé Nast Traveller, India. “There’s definitely opportunity for some cool activities to emerge with long-term potential. A lot depends on the execution. But it is not an equal substitute. In the long-term, nothing compares to an immersive, first-person experience.”

Bhatia agrees. “For many people, life’s passion points — be it art, fashion, cuisine, nature, relaxation — are at the heart of travel. And these points [which the virtual experiences reflect] will inspire them to book their next holiday, as and when we have the right global health ecosystem to do so.” I’m sure each Airbnb and the journey trade shall be saying Amen to that.

Sign up for periods with Devika Narain (₹2,500++), Sanjana Chatlani (₹2,261++) and Shivan & Narresh (₹2,200++) as we speak. Details:

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