Founded in 2008, Airbnb has recently come into its own, with its value rising to $31 billion just last year. Because of the company’s rapid growth, popularity, and innovative leaders, some believe Airbnb may turn the travel industry on its head.
Such an opinion does not go unjustified. In 2016 alone, CEO Brian Chesky not only stated that Airbnb would eventually expand beyond offering homes, rooms, and apartments, but also hinted that the company is working to join the number of travel sites that offer flight bookings. Moving toward becoming a one-stop travel booking site would put Airbnb in direct competition with travel giants like Expedia, Travelocity, and Priceline Group.
Additionally, Airbnb is now active in over 65,000 cities and 191 countries. Amongst its 3 million listings are 3,000 castles, 1,400 tree houses, and even a few igloos.
Along with its ability to provide a unique lodging experience, Airbnb has also launched a new app entitled Trips, which enables travelers to book hundreds of experiences hosted by chefs, street artists, and avid hikers local to the area in which they are staying.
Furthermore, the Trips app also gives its users a list of secret spots and regional favorites that are recommended by hosts and other local residents — thus ensuring travelers can really “live like the locals do.”
Although it may seem like Airbnb is to the travel industry as Amazon is to retail, experts are not entirely convinced of the company’s ability to drive hotels out of business — especially since it has yet to make an impact on those who travel for business as opposed to leisure.
However, with the company projected to earn $3 billion by 2020, brand awareness rising rapidly, and its abundance of affordable lodging options, Airbnb is likely to move into — and dominate — a majority of travel markets sooner rather than later.