Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the ULI Fall Meeting and on Tuesday, Brian Chesky, founder of Airbnb spoke about his company. The “Duke” of disruption, as he’s known, told us about the beginning of “Air Bed and Breakfast” and the amazing empire he’s just barely begun to build. Airbnb is a wonderful platform that in August provided over 1 million rooms in one night alone. With 1.7 million hosts around the globe this website of the sharing economy is making an impact (creative disruption) in our backyards. Originally, the app was created to provide some secondary income for home dwellers. Now it has emerged into a complete community where you can go into a foreign city and feel as though you have an instant family. Airbnb is providing a network for both home dwellers and travelers alike; it is making a statement about the way we look for and provide accommodation.
Whatever ideas you may have about airbnb are probably outdated or misinformed; the average host is 39 years old and female. While it was originally created to handle surges of populations coming into a city or event, it is now being used by corporate travel departments to save on their budget. Airbnb has a lot of advantages that a normal hotel or room for rent can’t offer; like a built-in instant family that can guide you around the foreign city. There are a lot of ways in which an Airbnb feels more comfortable, clean, and private than your average hotel room. After you’ve finished your stay, there is a 9 step hospitality review and over 70% of guests write a review on everything from cleanliness to the comfort of the bed. I looked today and found hundreds of listings in Hawaii and near Waikiki. With occupancies in Waikiki at near record levels, it seems this service is made for the current economy, which is taking off, and has found a great place in that economy. Some hoteliers and local unions are not thrilled about the introduction of this supply of rooms and it could certainly effect the price of any hotel room. In 13 major cities in the US, Airbnb is collecting and paying hotel taxes for the host. Hawaii is a little behind in getting their fair share of taxes but it will be a fact of life soon enough. There are more and more hosts in new cities across the world every day and the consumers are choosing the new, easy, affordable options of this shared economy.
Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments!