What to expect from Airbnb on its 11th birthday
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
This month marks the 11th birthday for Airbnb. Founded in 2008, Airbnb is the first and now dominant player in the P2P (peer-to-peer) short-term residential rental business.
Last year at Airbnb’s 10th birthday, the company’s CEO Brian Chesky delivered a keynote speech — Airbnb for everyone. Around the same period, the company rolled out two new brands to its current product line: Airbnb Plus and Beyond by Airbnb.
Within 10 years, Airbnb has already turned itself into more than just a marketplace for room-sharing services. The company also sells other travel experiences and even rooms for other hotels, similar to what OTAs (online travel agents such as Expedia and Priceline) offer. Additionally, Airbnb began competing head-to-head with other hotel giants in the real estate market.
There is no doubt that Airbnb has become more than just a room-sharing enterprise, but what other markets is Airbnb after? What can we expect at Airbnb’s 11th birthday? Here are a few possibilities:
Will Airbnb enter the transportation business?
Airbnb announced earlier this month that Fred Reid, a former airline executive, would join the company as its global head of transportation. Fred’s aviation experience includes being the founding CEO of Virgin America, a former president of Delta Airlines and Lufthansa Airlines, as well as a key player who helped create the Star Alliance program, the first frequent flyer program that allowed travelers to earn and redeem mileages from a group of partnered airlines for reward travels.
In such a new position, Fred will be responsible for building partnerships with other travel and tourism companies, which are expected to help Airbnb provide transportation services to the travelers in addition to accommodations. Ultimately (possibly in a few years), travelers will be able to book a flight ticket or arrange other transportation on Airbnb.com.
Will Airbnb introduce more new brands to its short-term residential rental business?
Some additional amenities that may come with Airbnb Luxe homes include: airport transfer, car rental, childcare, butler, driver, restaurant concierge and spa services, to name a few. The tagline for Airbnb Luxe is “extraordinary homes with five-star everything.”
Will Airbnb finally launch a loyalty program that rewards its hosts and travelers?
It has been a year since we first discussed Airbnb’s plan in adding a loyalty program to reward its hosts and travelers, but the company has not yet released any major announcements in that regard.
Meanwhile, hotels are trying to pull in travelers with larger loyalty programs and are making updates on existing terms. There is a need for Airbnb to introduce a thoughtfully designed loyalty program that rewards its loyal customers.
Will Airbnb be able to find ways to solve its legal dilemmas?
Airbnb is dealing with many legal issues now, such as discrimination and charges of unfair competition in the lodging sector. While some research showed that Airbnb could possibly help local businesses, more tourist destinations are adding more legal restrictions on short-term residential rentals than before. It becomes critical for Airbnb to come up with better solutions to those legal issues as the company continues to grow.
What do you expect from Airbnb’s 11th birthday? What needs the company’s immediate attention now?
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