Airbnb is an accommodation listing site that features a modern business model. The company partners with property owners willing to list their available real estate, whether a condo or their own living room, on the Airbnb website platform. The owners also serve as the hosts for the guests. It started with its own apartment in their San Francisco living room, and the company saw a rapid growth through their ingenuity and creativity. Learn about their story as told by founder Joe Gebbia:
Here are our takeaways from this wonderful success story:
They created a business out of a need:
A design conference and the lack of available hotel rooms paved the way for the idea of an accommodation listing site platform. The lack of sufficient and/or affordable accommodation for big events is pretty common. Airbnb became the solution to this problem. Founders Joe and Brian decided to rent out extra space in their apartment, putting out air beds and serving breakfast for their first guests.
They used creativity and moment marketing:
The Airbnb team thought of creative ways on how they can add more value to their guests. During the 2008 election, they started giving out “limited-edition” repacked cereals featuring the faces of the 2008 Presidential candidates. The result was $ 20,000 worth of return on investment, a lot of publicity, an entry to startup incubator program, and a spike in website activity. It was a brilliant move to take advantage of the current events in marketing promotions.
They documented their ideas:
Founder Joe Gebbia shared how the founding team documented all their crazy ideas in personal journals. He suggests keeping idea journals. The company achieved growth through unconventional means through the ideas of its founders.
They actively sought out growth opportunities:
Following their success in 2008, the Airbnb team focused on growth. The founders themselves became users of Airbnb, meeting their customers face-to-face and in turn gained valuable feedback. The startup also decided to expand their market place. Their accommodation offering moved beyond rooms or houses. Unconventional accommodations like tree houses and yachts made its way to their website.
Connections with people and culture
Airbnb is not just an alternative to expensive hotel rooms. Staying in places owned by local residents of certain places gives travelers a closer and more genuine look at the place’s culture. Airbnb also allows their guests to create real-life connections with the residents.
It’s mind blowing how creative solutions become billion-dollar businesses. Airbnb was just an idea of two guys needing money to pay their rent. It’s proof that creativity will definitely take you to different heights.