Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
Location: California, USA
Number of employees: 600
Year founded: 2008
99 Rhode Island Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Airbnb connects travellers with people who can accommodate them. Some hosts offer a room in their own home, though the majority of the 300,000 properties listed on the site are self-contained, ranging from studio apartments to villas. On any given night, around 140,000 people are staying in Airbnb properties, which span 34,000 cities in 192 countries.
Hosts list their properties for free. Guests pay via the website, which takes a fee and passes the money on to the hosts after the first night of the stay. Both travellers and hosts can subsequently rate each other on Airbnb, building trust and enabling hosts to decide whether or not to accept a booking request from any particular guest.
Airbnb sees itself as providing not just accommodation, but also travel experiences. For some guests and hosts – and many Airbnb users are both – socializing is central. Even for the majority who stay in private accommodation, 70% of Airbnb’s properties are in districts with relatively few hotels, meaning travellers get to experience restaurants and bars they would not otherwise encounter. For cities, the economic boost of tourism gets spread beyond the usual tourist areas.
More broadly, Airbnb sees itself as epitomizing a world-changing shift towards the “sharing economy”. What makes Airbnb’s model possible – individuals’ capacity to build a trusted reputation through mutual ratings – can enable people to monetize anything from space in their homes to ride-sharing on commutes, their possessions, and their time and skills.