When it comes to vacations, the second thing that you look after the vacation spot is the available lodging around the place. While hotels can get a little expensive, a lot of tourists would prefer looking for Airbnb. Airbnb is an online marketplace where people who would like to visit certain places can rent out a place from the locals. Prices are cheaper, and it gave a lot of people another source of income. Since it was founded, Airbnb has become a billion-dollar enterprise. If you’re curious about how Airbnb started, then we have a few surprising facts for you to know everything about this business!
From mattresses to castles!
In the year 2007, the founders of Airbnb were struggling to earn money to pay their rent. During that time, there was a big conference coming up, and the surge of designers coming to the event was expected. With an event as big as this, it was expected that all hotels within the area are going to be fully-booked. Coincidentally, the founders’ apartment was close to where the conference was going to be held. In an email to Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia came up with the idea of offering their place to designers, complete with wireless internet, desk space, sleeping mats, and even breakfast. It was a pretty good idea to make some money on the side. To get ready, they created a website, airbedandbreakfast.com, and bought three air mattresses. After the first success of entertaining their first guests, the pair messaged their old roommate, Nathan Blecharczyk, and officially turned it into a business. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Now, you can even rent some private castles, caves, igloos, and islands using Airbnb. There were also thousands of treehouses listed on their site. Surely, there is a lodging place for every tourist, a person in business, and adventurers out there!
It took almost a decade before the founders reaped the profits.
If you’re looking for some shocking Airbnb facts, then this one cuts. In 2013, it was recorded that Airbnb served around 9 million customers around the globe. In 2014, Airbnb reached a market value of $10 billion. If you come to think about it, the business’ performance is pretty good considering it only started with mattresses. However, since Airbnb is paying dividends to its investors, it only became a profiteering venture in 2016. The company also had to spend a few expenses when they were launching the brand, like improving their technology. The company was also able to raise funds through Series E funding and secured an investment from Google as well.
Backlash and business slowdowns
Using Airbnb is pretty and convenient and free if you want to make an account. This alarmed some people from the senate. Because of this, they made a study on the correlation of Airbnb to the housing costs in the United States. In 2016, a bill authored by Governor Andres Cuomo imposed fines to the company for violation of rental rules and regulations. It was discovered that 50% of Airbnb renters in New York violate the law which pushed for a stricter mandate to regulate Airbnb.
Other famous tourist cities, like Paris, took a few steps to do the same thing to protect renters. Airbnb was also seen as a threat to long-term renters because the short-term rental scheme was far more profitable. This is why Airbnb caters to long-term stays to provide and protect renters such as students and young professionals.
Aside from getting fined because of the laws imposed, Airbnb still receives backlash because some of the Airbnb hosts are racists. There was one instance where Airbnb fined a host for $5000 due to racial discrimination. The host was even required to take an Asian-American study before Airbnb allows the host to rent his place again.
The Airbnb logo
The Airbnb logo has a name, Belo. It symbolises belongingness which is the company’s mission- to make every single user feel as they belong anywhere. Belo was developed in 2014, and the company still uses it until now. The logo is a reversed letter A with map pins representing different places, cultures, and diversity. Despite the significant meaning behind the logo, it has also received a lot of backlash from social media. For starters, according to some people, the logo looks like a sexual reproductive organ. Second, when the logo was launched, some people pointed out that the logo is similar to another company, Automation Anywhere. Airbnb chose to keep the logo after all these years.
Live the celebrity life.
Well, we’re talking about living in a celebrity’s house for a couple of days. Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, Charlie Chaplin, and Denzel Washington are some former celebrity houses listed on Airbnb. If you want to live out your celebrity fantasies, you should book an Airbnb to treat yourself.
From 0 to billions
These are just some Airbnb facts that are truly inspiring. From its history to the number of problems the company encountered, Airbnb inevitably came a long way. The next time you book an Airbnb, you have some facts that you can share with your companions. Who knows, the next billion-dollar idea might strike up from one of your conversations!