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Airbnb

Now you can belong anywhere

Sector: Futuretravel
Themes:

Airbnb is a great example of collaborative consumption, making more of under-utilised assets, whilst also enjoying the social experience of sharing. All built around a sustaining community.

airbnbAirbnb started out as the result of lack of accommodation for a major design conference in SanFrancisco. Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia launched AirBed and Breakfast to help people who couldn’t find a hotel room – first in their own spare room with a couple of airbeds, and tasty breakfast, and then with friends too. They spotted the potential, but needed to raise some money to develop a website. Obama was fighting McCain in the US election of 2008, so the pair quickly designed and launched two new breakfast cereals, “Obama O’s” and “Capn McCains” raising $30000 to get started. The site quickly became a social movement helping people rent out their spare bedrooms for a little extra cash, and others to find a great place to stay.

Tired of standard hotel rooms? Airbnb helps you discover real places, and get closer to culture and normality. What began with two guys and a few airbeds now offers nights in everything from crusader forts to private islands. It is now a global marketplaces with ovAirbnb-BVA-Image.001er 500,000 locations in 33,000 cities, and over 10 million booked nights. It has also become a serious rival to the leading hotel chains and travel companies.

Christopher Lukezic, CMO says “Airbnb has pioneered social travel and set the stage for the emergence of the sharing economy.  The main reason for our success is that we’ve taken a very long-term vision and approach to building a brand – to build a company and community. If building a brand takes a few years, building a community takes decades. Early on we knew that the ultimate success of our business would come from building a community, not merely a brand. That would take a decade, without being distracted by short-term gains.”

Pivot points for Airbnb in “changing the game” of travel accommodation were:

  • Discover:  Identifying a niche market with a trend away from standardised hotels
  • Design: Designing an attractive business model and online booking experience
  • Resonate: Articulating the proposition through PR and contagious social media
  • Mobilise: Building a community of travellers, and people with spare rooms

Airbnb think and act differently. “The business always puts our users forward, often doing things that don’t scale and don’t have immediate returns. It wasn’t about putting up billboards to get lots of users very quickly, because we had to build trust with each members one-by-one. Not long ago, people wouldn’t have dreamed of staying at somebody else’s house, now they see it as positive experience.”

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