Airbnb and the unalienable right to exist

Owners of a house rented by airBnB

Guess, guess … What would be the biggest dream of an hotelier? No doubt, it would be that homeownership was prohibited. If it were up to the tourist industry, citizens would be obliged by law to rent a hotel room … of course.

No, the idea is not surreal. This is what follows from the hotel lobby actions against the explosion of the phenomenon of residential exchanges. The Airbnb concept today moves more than 9 million passengers worldwide. The lodging on offer surpasses the figure of 500,000 units, from single rooms to multi-housing properties in 33,000 cities in over 190 countries. If we compare these figures with those of hotel empires such as Marriott International, which manages 3,800 hotels and 666,000 rooms, the conclusion drawn by the dean of the division of the Preston Robert Tisch Center, Bjorn Hanson, is that Airbnb is “the biggest brand of accommodation in the world.” And it has achieved that in just seven years.

Airbnb was founded by three Americans – Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky – in 2007. After the legend of startups born in a garage, the idea was the development of an ecosystem based on accommodating friends. They called it Air, because they thought they would lodge them using inflatable mattresses, and BnB, for bed and breakfast. Continue reading

Is Airbnb the next Booking?

Sharing hands for a sharing economy

At first, I thought that Airbnb was going to occupy a lodging niche that nobody wanted to, or could, digitally manage, given the dispersion of supply and the variety of behaviors attributed to homeowners interested in putting their homes up for rent by periods. But after a deep reflection on the strategic focus of the company, different view exchanges among tourism agents in New York (home of its founder, Brian Chesky), and the concerned monitoring of American hotel strategist Chip Conley, with whom I have exchanged some epistolary views on the subject, I confess that my current impression is radically different from the original. Airbnb wants to enter not only in the hotel market but in the entire value chain of the tourism business. And it wants to enter to transform the world of travel through the generation that will manage it in the coming decades: the so-called millennials. Continue reading