- Vice Media has partnered with Airbnb for custom travel packages that allow fans of the publisher to experience the exotic locations its reporters visit for stories, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The packages intend to align with Vice's "punk 'zine" attitude, the Journal said.
- Airbnb will receive the profits from tour fees while Vice will receive advertising spending from Airbnb to market the "Experiences," along with other products. As part of the launch, a contest will give 100 people one of four customized tours in South Africa, Paris, New York or Tokyo free of charge. Vice's Chief Strategy Officer Spener Baim told the Journal that both companies are putting money and time into developing the tours, adding that Vice is active in 80 countries and has "done a ton of research on this."
- The Vice tours will be part of Airbnb's "Experiences" packages, which were first rolled out last year to offer more robust travel options. For example, Vice's initial offerings include a look into the electronic music scene in Cape Town led by DJs Spoek Mathambo and Yolanda Fyrus, or touring Tokyo's LGBTQ nightlife culture, per the Journal.
Vice looks to be leveraging travel connections already developed by its globe-trotting reporters in exchange for guaranteed advertising from Airbnb as well as some brand-building that positions it as a window into cutting-edge culture. Vice catering tours that replicate its boots-on-the-ground reporting fits neatly in with the youth-centric, exploratory nature of Airbnb Experiences, the home-sharing service's CMO Jonathan Mildenhall told the Journal. The partnership is also another sign that Vice is looking past traditional publisher content as a way to grow its business worldwide.
In July, it cut 2% of its workforce as it looked to expand video content offerings, reflecting a broader industry trend. Vice overall has become a fairly sprawling media enterprise through its namesake website, news division, HBO show and standalone cable channel, along with agency work done through shops like Carrot Creative.
Airbnb, for its part, continues to push past simple home-sharing to be a more comprehensive travel and booking service. There are already 2,500 "Experience" packages available in 35 cities around the world, the Journal said, and the Vice partnership points to how more publishers and marketers might leverage the popularity of the feature to integrate their brand name into travel planning.