Airbnb has bought a Barcelona-based travel startup it was advising and partnering with: Trip4real offers a marketplace of experiences for tourists to browse and book ahead of time to lend their trip a little local color/flavor (via tapas tastings, paella cooking classes, barrio tours and so on).

There are obvious synergies with the sharing economy giant which pitches its platform as a way to escape the usual tourist traps by staying in a real home rather than a clinical hotel (albeit, its platform also plays host to plenty of professional landlords, so the reality is rather less clear-cut…).

Airbnb has also started expanding into travel services, outing an Airbnb Trips app last month, and testing a City Hosts guided experiences program this summer. So it’s not hard to see how trip4real’s platform feeds into its plans. Nor why Airbnb picked this startup over others in the space, given it was already partnering with the web-based platform (and the two were viewed by rivals as ‘aligned’, not least visually).

Other startups playing in what remains a very packed and difficult space include well-funded platforms like Berlin-based GetYourGuide (which acquired deadpooled rival Gidsy). There’s also Vayable, GuideMeRight, Peek,Musement, LovliLocals and MeetJune, to name a few. Another early mover, Viator, was acquired by TripAdvisor back in 2014. Yet another, AnyRoad, pivoted from indie travel experiences to selling a b2b “experience management platform” for providers of tours, classes and private events.

Airbnb confirmed the acquisition to TechCrunch, emailing the following statement: “We are delighted to welcome Trip4Real to the Airbnb family. [Founder] Gloria Molins and her team share our vision of a different kind of travel experience that is local and authentic. Their experience and expertise is a great complement to our ongoing efforts to transform the way that people travel.”

Trip4real was founded back in 2012, and had raised $3.1 million in four rounds to date from investors including Kibo Ventures and Caixa Capital Risc, according to CrunchBase.

The price of the acquisition has not been disclosed, although we’re hearing it was very low — with one source putting it at between $5M and $10M.

The deal was reported earlier by local newspaper La Vanguardia, which reports trip4real having amassed some 40,000 users at the point of acquisition, and offering around 10,000 activities.

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Airbnb acquires travel activities marketplace, trip4real