Airbnb is a peer-to-peer platform that provides accommodation for lodgers, and the possibility for people with unused living space to rent it out. The website offers anything from budget rooms, to luxury villas, which makes it a serious alternative to the hospitality industry. Prior to a business conference held in San Francisco, the two founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia decided to offer additional accommodation for the participants. Moreover, they offered them homemade breakfast, and a unique chance for them to do networking. Quickly, this became a success, and they even decided to accommodate three guests, in their own flat in SF. The two founders teamed up with the Harvard graduate Nathan Blecharczyk, and now they had ambitions.
They mainly focussed on high-profile events, where there was a shortage of beds for the participants. They spotted the potential of their idea, and took advantage of the internet. A platform was created, that connected individuals that offered accommodation, as well as people that were looking for it. On the 11th of August, 2008 the website airbedandbreakfast.com (now airbnb.com) was launched. Other people realized the potential as well, and the three owners raised considerable amounts of money, to keep expanding and developing the business, in the US as well as abroad.
Today, more than 9 million guests, in 34,000 cities, spanning across 192 countries have used the service.
Airbnb has released some interesting growth figures, proving that 2012 was the year that Airbnb stopped being something people were talking about and started to be something (a lot of) people used. The company announced that 4 million total guests have now used Airbnb to book a night’s stay on the peer-to-peer lodging marketplace. A whopping 3 million of those guests used the service in 2012 alone. The company launched all the way back in 2007, so that should give you a clear picture of just how much growth Airbnb has seen in the past year. Airbnb has proven that its San Francisco user base is a financially powerful market for the company, but we shouldn’t forget that Airbnb is a truly global marketplace, as people from over 150 different countries traveled on the service in 2012.