Your DNA offers much more than just insights into your origins, it may help you map out your next travel itinerary.
23andMe and Airbnb are teaming up to offer customers a new way to connect with their heritage, by showcasing homes and heritage travel experiences based on a customer’s DNA.
“We empower 23andMe customers to learn about themselves and their ancestry through their unique genetic code,” said 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki. “Working with Airbnb, a leader who is reimagining travel, provides an exciting opportunity for our customers to connect with their heritage through deeply personal cultural and travel experiences.”
23andMe’s pioneering Ancestry Composition allows customers to discover where their DNA is from out of 1000+ regions worldwide, while Airbnb offers travelers a way to immerse themselves in the local communities and cultures through enriching experiences. The collaboration, which allows customers to more easily find homes and experiences inspired by their DNA, also offers users the ability to delve into locales even with which they have no genetic ties.
The new integration also comes as more and more 23andMe customers use insights from their Ancestry Composition to connect to their cultural roots and map out their own Heritage Travel. And this trend goes beyond 23andMe customers. Since 2014, Airbnb has seen a 500 percent increase in the number of guests traveling specifically to explore their heritage.
In a recent national survey, almost two-thirds of respondents said they thought that heritage based travel offered more valuable experiences. The survey, commissioned by Airbnb, showed that within the last five years 51 percent of those surveyed said they were much more likely to travel to a country of their heritage. And when looking at Airbnb customers that interest jumped to 62 percent. In a recent survey conducted by 23andMe, 53 percent of buyers of genetic kits say they decided to take a test because they want to know information about their ancestry and the ancestry of their family. For those who hadn’t yet taken a test, 73 percent of survey respondents said knowing their heritage by exploring personal DNA made them more likely to take a test.
“At Airbnb, we believe that authentic travel experiences help you connect with local cultures and create a sense of belonging anywhere in the world — and what better way to do that than traveling to your roots,” said Joe Gebbia, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer. “We’re proud to team up with 23andMe, the leader in helping people learn about their genes and ancestry, to make it easier for travelers to plan trips as unique as their DNA.”
Through this collaboration, both 23andMe and Airbnb customers will be able to find inspiration for their next trip based on their heritage. On 23andMe, once a customer receives their ancestry reports, they will be able to click through to their ancestral populations and find Airbnb Homes and Experiences in their native countries. For example, if a 23andMe customer has Southern Italian ancestry, they might be able to find a trullo in Puglia as a home base to explore their heritage. Or someone with Mexican roots could find an experience in Mexico City to learn ancient techniques of natural dye as part of their heritage vacation. Additionally, Airbnb now has dedicated pages that correspond with 23andMe’s genetic populations, so that travelers coming to Airbnb’s site will be able to easily plan an end-to-end heritage trip.
According to 23andMe, some of the top places in which its customers have recent ancestry outside of the United States and Canada are the United Kingdom, Italy, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Mainland China, Spain, Nigeria, India and Russia. Most 23andMe customers have at least five populations within their Ancestry Composition report, which presents many opportunities for one to explore heritage travel.
But connecting to your roots doesn’t require buying a plane ticket. Through Airbnb Experiences, you can connect with your ancestry by finding culturally specific activities in your hometown. In San Francisco, you could explore a Chinese calligraphy and tea tasting experience, for example, to connect to your Chinese ancestry, or for those with connections to Japan you could learn to make traditional Japanese ramen noodles.
Your DNA may offer more than just personal insight but a new way to map out your next journey, and a way to connect to people and cultures with whom you share ancestral origins.