Airbnb’s launch of a new Stories feature this week wasn’t just about jumping on the latest social media innovation. It was more importantly a way to market its expansion into travel services, a move to set itself apart from the new competitors in home rental space.
The Stories feature was quietly rolled out to a beta group of users who were invited to post 10-second clips of travel experiences that they could stitch together. Observers were quick to call out the feature as another example of companies following the “Stories” trend started by Snapchat in an attempt to make their app more sticky with users.
But it’s really a sign of how the company is finding ways to market other types of business like Experiences, which offers users activities hosted by locals — like a graffiti workshop in Brooklyn, for example — for a price.
Because the new Airbnb Stories aren’t tied to a particular rental, but rather a destination in general, they could include videos and write-ups of these experiences or places of interest like bars and restaurants.
Airbnb first launched Experiences in 2016. In February, the company said it was on track to book one million Experiences for the second quarter in a row and on track to be profitable by the end of 2019.
As traditional hotel booking companies like Booking Holdings, which owns Bookings.com and Priceline.com, are gaining traction in the market for renting the kinds of nontraditional accommodation rentals that Airbnb built a business out of, and as global regulatory pressures continue to surface, it makes sense that Airbnb is building a platform for their users to share content about destinations overall, rather than just specific accommodations.
We’ll ask CEO Brian Chesky more about the company’s plans at our Code Conference this week. You can check out the full video and coverage here.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.