Airbnb is the online marketplace for house rentals and users can list their properties for vacations and short stays. The company began in the year 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco. Airbnb along with Uber are the pioneers of “sharing economy”. The company was founded by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia with the idea of airbed and breakfast.
At present the service is available in 26 languages and presence in 191 countries and 34,000 cities. The company has 2 million property listings on its site providing its users a huge number of choices in terms of place and prize.
Despite having such a huge number of listing on its site the company does not own any property and just acts as a medium. For being the platform of interaction the company charges a part of money earned by the property owners as service charge.
The fee ranges from 6 percent to 12 percent based on the price of booking and an additional 3 percent from the guest as credit card processing.
To maintain the quality of its platform the company lists out the rules and regulations that a property owner needs to follow to provide proper safety to the guest.
Apart from this the company also has ratings and review system so that the users can make an informed choice before picking up a property to stay in.
Considering all safety precautions the company also provides insurance to both host and guest under various clauses.
The concept of sharing a home or giving out a property for rental other than operating as a hotel clicked well with the masses, as users do not need to spend a lot of money over hotels. Apart from this they also have the choice to choose from a condo to a room to stay in.
It also gave property owners an opportunity to make money from the unused property and act as an extra earning.
It now has a place in the gig or sharing economy.
The company takes pride over the fact that it has been able to mobilize the local economy and also provide a cost effective option to travelers thus in turn promoting tourism.
Sharing economy is a relatively new term in the commerce; these companies rely on technology like smart phones and internet connectivity to take their businesses forward.
Airbnb’s latest initiatives
1. Disaster Response Tool
The company has reached out to help those in Florida and South Carolina for those who were affected by the hurricane Mathew.
There is a disaster response tool which lets people open up their properties for free to those in need. In Florida the storm has caused its residents to evacuate immediately in the areas of Brevard, Martin, Volusia, Indian River counties and Palm Beach. Voluntary evacuations have been recommended in places such as Miami-Dade, St Lucie, Broward and Flagler.
A search through the disaster response tool shows that there at least a dozen of the properties listed for $0. As a part of these list there were entire homes to rooms available.
Airbnb previously used the tool during 2012 sandy hurricane. However it was after the storm took its toll but this time even before the storm has hit the company started its initiative.
2. Local Guide
Any traveler would like to experience a destination’s local food and culture. However this requires an experienced local guide who can show the best of the place. Getting a guide after reaching the destination is a tough task. That is why airbnb provides an opportunity to connect with local guides through its platform.
It is opportunity for the local guides to earn extra money as it has millions of people on its platform which can provide the opportunity like no other stream can do.
So apart from just being a rental site the company is trying to make an effort of moving as a single platform for all the tourist needs.
3. Business Suites
A business traveler and a casual traveler are quite different. Airbnb has realized this and has introduced business stay places separately.
The hosts have a set of guidelines when they host for business travelers thus making the official stay more pleasant.
4. Airbnb issues
Though being an innovative platform it has its own share of problem. The company has run into problems with governments, over properties which were accommodating too many people or hosting parties and also over tax issues.
There are several incidents in which the company has been accused not maintain proper check over whether the properties were actually maintained every safety standard.
Also the hotel industries are subject to lots of rules and regulation none of which are followed by airbnb properties; this also has caused problems to the company.
Since the properties do not need to pay commercial taxes or follow any government rules they tend to be cheaper than the traditional stay place. This causes an unfair advantage for the airbnb properties.
Legislators across many countries have been trying to frame rules and regulations to bring these gig economy companies into regulations.
How are they improving?
To avoid all these issued airbnb has stated that the hosts go through all the local laws and regulations regarding letting out a rental property.
Also to improve its standard the company provides super host badge to hosts who provide special services to their guests. It also rewards them with the badge and provides a chance to increase their bookings and earn more money.
The following check points are issued for the hosts to bag the super badge:
- Have at least 10 trips on the listing every year
- The response rate to the guest must be at least 90 percent
- 80 percent of the reviews should be 5 star
- The host should provide confirmed reservation there should be minimal amount of cancellations.
These conditions and several other guidelines help the platform to have a standard which will attract more users.
Today there are several clones of airbnb that follow the same rules of this company. However they have managed to maintain their growth for the past 8 years.
Featured Image Courtesy: theguardian.com
Anand Rajendran is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zuket. He is a writer and coffee lover. He has is a graduate in Computer Science and Post Graduate in Entrepreneurship and leadership from Ulyanovsk State University, Russia. He is a passionate blogger & SEO Specialist. Zuket is a Software Development company which has launched Trubnb Script which is an Airbnb Clone
Script with Mobile apps.
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