Yes, very interesting indeed. I would say a lot of “brand” and “trust equity”, which would make it a huge barrier to entry for others.
Funny how the Obama campaign actually made a world of a difference for them in the very beginning: in the game of supply and demand, they didn’t have to chase their tail. Instead, they had demand at a maximum and had to create supply (Obama hosts) as much as possible. Which made it easier for them, especially that Obama supporters were ecstatic about hosting other Obama supporters. They felt they had something in common.
That’s very interesting to hear, Kathy. Obviously, I am not privy to that information, but it would make sense for larger booking sites to come in and benefit from Airbnb’s larger efforts. However, it all comes down to loyalty and data.
And today, having used Airbnb time and time again, with positive experiences, and having an account opened with them, it will probably be just ‘easier’ for me to always go through Airbnb. So, I consider myself a loyal user, even though I’ve only used it 3 times… And I don’t know how easy it would be for others to reproduce that level of trust and ease.
Then, Airbnb must have TONS of data that they’ve developed on all of us (cf. today’s Google case, or last Thursday’s Facebook case). Really, the big question is how they will use this data to adapt, evolve, and make my experience more customized and relatable so that I just don’t want to go elsewhere.
Facebook and Google have both gotten competition, by players that we thought were much bigger initially (Microsoft, Yahoo!). But they just managed to leverage their knowledge and kept being one step ahead of the curve all the time!
Let’s see, only time will tell how they manage to confront this. If it were me, if I were Chesky/Airbnb, I would keep myself on the tip of my toes, and try to keep evolving, but I certainly would NOT be scared!
Very interesting questions indeed.
1. I think they are way ahead of the curve, and was actually very pleasantly surprised to hear that Airbnb had actually “changed” laws and regulations in some states, just because everyone was aligned that they were bringing superior value to all parties involved. If you do that, I guess, even the state and the law bend in your favor!
2. I had also read that. I am sure some things can be found about trying to hide profiles or pictures. But, here, as everywhere, there is a fine balance to be made between not providing enough information to the host and providing too much of it
3. Good question. All I can say, from what I’ve read, is that they don’t intend to stop there. I’d hate to put words into Chesky’s mouth, but I don’t even think they need to stop at the travel market. For me, Airbnb is about trying to maximize the utilization of assets that don’t get utilized (in your absence or because the room is empty). And I can see that happening with so many different things: you have season-tickets to go see the latest Arsenal game – BOOM! Airbnb! ; you are going away and have an adorable pet – BOOM! Airbnb! ; you have a tuxedo that you only wear once a year – BOOM! Airbnb!
Doesn’t seem too unreasonable to me.. Thoughts?
Thanks for the insights Charlotte, and thank you for the nice words!
To answer your question, it feels like the variability comes with the price charged and the effort required in the back-end by Airbnb. Indeed, it seems unfair that Airbnb be paid only 6% on a very small transaction that requires a lot of back-end effort from their side. So it really varies with the volume (days, weeks, months) and the amount paid by the guest. It would be great to find out if your “user rating”, which requires them to check your profile in more depth, has anything to do with the rate that you pay. I reckon it doesn’t, or at least that’s what they communicate. I see the dangers of it (host-guest collusion), but I can see the benefits of it too.
About the 3% host fees, this often doesn’t even cover their costs. They really make their money out of the guest. And that’s for one particular reason: they’d like to incentivize as many hosts as possible to participate: the bigger the offer, the best one can find what he’s looking for. So they try to attract as many hosts as possible at a very minimal fee!
Glad to hear! Thank you for the nice words!
Super interesting. That is actually true, and I have found (in my research) the Airbnb management team to be quite discrete about it, when they were asked about the subject.
In my personal opinion, they are probably evaluating this new way of functioning, and will soon collect feedback / market survey to make sure they make it clear to their customer: 1) either to integrate it or allow it ; 2) or restrict it and try to prevent this from happening ; 3) potentially keep it the way it is, but in a more open and transparent way so that the user can make an informed decision in full knowledge of those facts.
It will be interesting to see what they do in the next few months about it!
A suivre… (to be continued)
Fascinating to see how they have managed to continue innovating and adapting themselves to demand, while sticking to their core values of quality with a New England brand image. And they have managed to scale up and use this in their favor against competition.
So was I actually, but now I’ve used it several times as a guest (Stockholm, NYC, SF), and it really makes a difference to have that authentic touch. It is also actually more comfortable than hotel rooms (more space!)
Legal issues are always at the forefront of their concerns for the future, but I must say I was impressed to hear that they have actually managed to change laws and regulations in certain states, just because everyone was aligned that they were bringing superior value to all parties involved. If you do that, I guess, even the state and the law bend in your favor!
Super interesting. It seems that Natura could even scale up and grow outside of Latin America if they wanted to! Or am I wrong?
Fascinating to see that you can align not just operating and business models, but also sustainability with innovation and performance!
Love the post!
Super interesting. Interesting to see that they manage to export their product without losing any of their quality. How scalable do you think the business can be? It’s also interesting to notice that, similarly to wines, steaks (internationally) are usually judged by their region of produce. Do you think their positioning outside of the U.S can be negatively affected by that?
Awesome post! It makes you wonder though why Nike is not trying to create more sports-specific segments, in widely popular sports, like Cricket or Swimming. They have so much to offer, in terms of market research, consumer knowledge and innovation. Do you think they will continue to expand, and perhaps offer customized innovative experiences in new sports? Or do you feel their focus into the 5-10 mainstream ones is necessary to continue innovating?
Interesting that lots of shared workspaces were hosting startups, but none have really succeeded in offering the Lab Incubator experience. How do you think they succeeded? And, do you think their model is scalable internationally (it does have high fixed costs)?
Interesting point. According to Chip Conley, head of Global Hospitality and Strategy at Airbnb, “HomeAway is strong in Vacation Rentals but hasn’t been able to grow much in urban areas” (Source: http://blog.ehl.edu/interview-chip-conley-airbnb-hospitality-strategy).
My guess is that it has been difficult for HomeAway to scale, as it has never managed to benefit from the momentum that AirBnb had caught early on (with the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver), which allowed it also to gain a high market share within a smaller segments (Obama supporters living in the region).
Similarly to Facebook, that started in Ivy-league universities then slowly widened the scope of their target audience, I feel that Airbnb has benefited from having a big market share in a smaller segment first. This helped its users find what they are looking for, and made them want to come back, which then multiplies the network effect (more demand to answer the offers and vice-versa).
That’s fascinating. How easily do you think mindsets will be able to change gears, especially in a world like academiae?
That’s amazing what they’re managing to do.
How do you think they can capitalize on their momentum, and gain wide awareness with a model like this one?
Fascinating. How easily are they managing to solve trust issues?
Very interesting. Do you think that they can scale the business up in a way that will fully eliminate the old CV/cover letter mechanism?