How was Airbnb founded

10 years of Airbnb: from air mattresses to high-flyers

Ingenious marketing success stories
Airbnb, the online marketplace for booking and renting private accommodation, has become a symbol of the sharing economy with its mission “Belong Anywhere”. 10 years after its founding and currently with an estimated company value of 30 billion US dollars, the company has turned the tourism industry inside out - and is constantly causing controversy ...

Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk came up with the idea for Airbnb, according to the founding myth, when they helped finance the high rent of their apartment in San Francisco by providing inflatable beds (“Airbeds”) for overnight stays. The website went online in 2008, and in 2009 the first investor funds were secured. In the meantime, Airbnb has become a versatile tourism company that not only provides rooms and apartments, but also offers for special events and business travelers. The company is valued at $ 30 billion, generated by over 3,000 employees. Despite numerous controversies such as resident protests or allegations that fuel the housing shortage in popular tourist cities, Airbnb's wave of success has so far remained unbroken and the brand enjoys high levels of sympathy among travelers and landlords. Here are a few reasons for that ...

Address basic human needs
At first, Airbnb was primarily a way to get cheap private accommodation. But the company achieved the breakthrough with the later developed mission and marketing campaign: Belong Anywhere! Because anyone who travels to other cities or countries, even for pleasure, easily feels strange, lost, or labeled as a “tourist”. By offering to stay with friendly locals instead of an anonymous hotel, Airbnb touched upon the deeply human need to belong and feel at home. It also took advantage of the hunger of millennials and later Generation X for “authentic experiences” instead of mass tourism. Together with the lower price, a convincing mix.

Show stamina
What went online in 2008 as “” initially met with little approval from investors. The founders were initially forced to finance their own business idea - including selling breakfast cereals for the Obama presidential campaign. Her ingenuity eventually impressed angel fund company Y Combinator enough to invest $ 20,000 in 2009 - despite doubts about the business model. But Chesky, Blecharczyk and Gebbia did not give up. Fired by the increased demand for affordable accommodation caused by the economic crisis, the range of unusual accommodation options is growing, and with it the company. At the end of 2010, Airbnb finally secured the support of investment giants Sequoia Capital - and USD 7.2 million. The breakthrough was made.

Product related innovations
In the ten years of its existence, Airbnb has consistently expanded its offering and has become a versatile tourism company. In addition to the core product of the guest room with a shared bathroom, there are separate apartments and extravagant accommodations such as igloos or tree houses. At the end of 2016 there were also privately held events that offer exclusive experiences “like for locals”, from cooking paella to meeting wolves. The next steps are offers for business travelers that dig deeper into their pockets for a set standard and good working conditions - a high-priced premium category * has also been introduced and there is even talk of an airline.

Facing resistance flexibly
Airbnb has good reasons to diversify. Because with increasing growth, the company is repeatedly confronted with criticism: Airbnb is indirectly responsible for the shortage of living space in cities such as London, Barcelona or Amsterdam, for the overburdening of "authentic quarters" with more and more city tourists, would have an unfair competitive advantage Hotels that have a lot more requirements to meet. Hurdles that the company has so far taken flexibly on the way to the planned IPO in 2019 without losing a lot of sympathy as a brand. Now it remains to be seen where Airbnb will go in the next 10 years.

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