The Rise of Airbnb & The Sharing Economy

With a recent valuation of 10 billion USD and reported revenue of 250 million USD last year, Airbnb has disrupted the hotel industry across the world and created more world travelers. The company allows hosts to rent out their vacant homes or spare rooms to guests on its platform achieving 10 million stays last year alone. It doubled its listings to 800,000 in 192 countries. Fast company is speculating that “Airbnb will usurp the InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton Worldwide as the world’s largest hotel chain – without owning a single property” Similar to the success of Uber, both these platforms have proven that the sharing economy is here to stay.

 

Moreover, this has given rise to other service based apps that take advantage of the service sector’s downtime or a person’s idle assets to generate income. Examples include Vallet apps, Delivery apps, Handyman apps and car sharing apps. This has given rise to a gig economy with estimates that more than half the working population in the west will be working on their own time for projects or gigs rather than full time at firms.

 

Though there is great sentiment against Airbnb in the media, they have created a Cult of followers similar to Uber. Airbnbers feel a sense of belonging to one another. Guests trust staying at a stranger’s home (and treat it as their own) and hosts trust the guests with their property (treating them as family)

The only connection they have is Airbnb and they feel a sense of belonging. Furthermore, the in depth review system adds value to prospective hosts and guests in making this peer to peer system a safe online marketplace allowing participants to choose quality products or accommodation.

 

Besides the fact of better pricing than traditional hotels, a warmer homey feel and an authentic stay in the heart of the city, travelers value the experience of living like a local in Taiwan, London or anywhere else they decide to book via Airbnb. Many hosts offer to make breakfast while others provide a full tour guide type of service at no extra cost taking their hosts to their favourite hidden spots in the city that you would never find recommended by a hotel concierge. Airbnb started as a low cost alternative for backpackers and bed n breakfast travelers, but it has quickly grown to provide ultimate luxury Villas and bespoke homes in the south of Spain, Morocco and other locations full with amenities and services that beat staying in a shoe box room of a hotel. It has cut out the real estate agent, the travel agent and the hotel connecting guests and hosts to each other. We believe Airbnb is a testament to the sharing economy and is here to stay.