Traveling around the globe is on the bucket list of every individual on Earth. Who doesn’t love to travel to new places, learn new culture and traditions, new languages, and not to forget, the different mouth relishing cuisines! While all this sounds fun, being at a completely new place can at times get a bit confusing especially when it comes to the topic of to ‘where to stay?’. This is where the concept of Airbnb, the world’s fastest-growing holiday website comes into place.
Airbnb, in short, is an online marketplace for booking or offering homestays, lodging facilities or tourism experience packages on the web. Travelers who are new to a city or destination can easily get their hands on the best facilities for accommodation in cities across the globe. Currently, Airbnb serves as an online travel reservation website in more than 81,000 cities covering around 191 countries worldwide.
The Story of ‘Airbnb.com’
The idea of Airbnb was conceived with its founding persons, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia, rented out their apartment for bed and breakfast with just adding an air mattress in their living room. This one move to balance the high living costs in San Francisco conceived to become into this giant website, AirBedandBreakfast, which is now known as Airbnb. Starting with the small idea beckon by roomies and former schoolmates of bed and breakfast in November 2007, it turned out to be a bigger venture of the AirBedandBreakfast by February 2008. Nathan Blecharczyk, joined forces with the other two founders, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia becoming the third co-founder and Chief Technology Officer.
They began by putting together the website offering easy short term living spaces and unique business networking opportunities who were unable to book hotels in the saturated market. In March 2009, the company shortened its name from AirBedandBreakfast.com to Airbnb.com with the website offering more than air mattresses to full hotel rooms, service apartments, homestays, and other properties.
Airbnb.com has been showing exponential growth in its initial years marking its 1,000,000th booking in February 2011. The company also son announced its 5,000,000th booking in January 2012, and a straight double of 10,000,000th booking by June the same year.
Airbnb also has around 13 subsidiaries businesses that include Hotel Tonight, Urbandoor Inc, Aibiying, Tilt.com, Accomable, Lapka Inc, Deco Software Inc, Gaest.com, Luckey SAS, Trip4real Experiences S.L., Luxury Retreats International, Trooly Inc., and Airbnb UK Limited.
The new logo of Airbnb launched in 2014 had gone through a spree of controversy. As per the CEO and co-founder of Airbnb Brian Chesky, the logo defines the service as “Belong Anywhere”. It is a combination of four key aspects of Airbnb’s services: People, Places, Love and the ‘A’ of Airbnb, forming the Airbnb.com logo, “Bélo”! It forms a platform for the people around the world to connect, share, feel accepted and stay safe.
Working of Airbnb
While you go through the website of Airbnb, you will notice the numerous listings provided on the website at different places, with a varied range of prices depending on the facilities provided. Airbnb’s revenue rises from the percentage of commission charged on each booking of an independent hotel, homestay or resort, event, tourism or vacation package. This might go up to 3 percent of total cost and 6 to 12 percent of the total cost as commission from hosts and guests respectively. In simple words, Airbnb can be seen as a broker or online reservation agent website that receives commissions for each booking placed. The platform is a two-way platform wherein the users can either book from the posted listings or post a listing for themselves!
Before booking the user will be asked to type in their personal and payment information to confirm the booking. Most of the hosts nowadays will prefer government-issued identification proofs before accepting reservation to ensure secure and safe stay experience for both parties. Some of the features of the Airbnb.com booking system are as follows.
- Using the 24×7 customer support system installed, users can get in touch with the customer service professionals of Airbnb or the hosts directly.
- You can also get notifications on your bookings via SMS, emails and Whatsapp Business notifications.
- The listings will provide a detailed portfolio on the host, the amenities provided, photographs or videos displaying the facilities and rooms of the lodging facility.
- The review facility allows both the guests and hosts to leave reviews on their experience.
- Pricing is determined by the hosts with consideration of Airbnb recommendations.
- Users can also use special offers or coupon codes for further discounts on prices.
As in every business venture, even Airbnb has its share of pros and cons. Before getting to the details of the pros and cons of the website facility, let us have a look into the major takeaways of Airbnb.com.
- Users can book hotel rooms or short term residential spaces lesser than the original brand cost.
- There are chances that the property may not live up to the exact facilities as provided in the listing while booking.
- There are also chances where users can damage the property during their stay which might affect the hosts.
Pros of Airbnb.com
Wide range of selection
Users are provided with a wide range of listings to select depending on the location, dates, facilities and price range. They can also select from the list of hotel rooms, suites, vacation homes, service apartments, etc.
Hosts are protected against any form of damage of an exorbitant amount of 1,000,000 dollars and more.
The guest payments are held for a day before transferring to the hosts as part of guest protection to ensure good living experience or refunds.
Hosts can add their listing free of cost along with detailed descriptions regarding the property and its photographs to provide the guests with a glimpse of where they are going to stay. The hosts can avail the freedom of quoting their independent prices abiding by the terms and conditions of the website.
Guests can search for the exact property based not only on the location and dates but also based on the price budget, facilities, property type, and language. There are also provisions to search based on keywords for narrowing the listings.
Cons of Airbnb.com
Expectation of Guests
There can be instances where you might not get what you see. The photographs may befog the guests while booking with the classy looks but might not be the same once you reach the destination. As the listings are free and done by individual hosts the level of honesty can vary. Such situations can be avoided if you check the customer comments and reviews on the property before booking.
There can be chances where the host property can be damaged during the stay. Such situations are covered under the Airbnb’s Host Guarantee program including crucial damages excluding cash, artwork, jewelry or pets.
Additional Fees on Booking
Just like any other booking system, Airbnb Also imposes additional charges on the guest bookings for customer support and other services. Taxes and a credit card or banking fees also come under this category.
Apart from lodging bookings, Airbnb also provides other services given below.
Guests can book events and stays with local guides that will include guided tours, cooking sessions and meetups.
Airbnb Plus lists down hosts that provide verified level of facilities and conditions including fast Wi-Fi, clean refrigerator, complete cooking equipment, stocked toiletries, water heaters, and string water pressure. Airbnb Plus listings Are marked with a special badge to differentiate it from the standard listings.
Airbnb Luxe provides access to unique and exquisite luxury residences to ensure bespoke living experiences on your travel. This includes luxury resorts, hotels, villas, and cottages.
Airbnb collections include options such as Airbnb for Families, Airbnb for Work. Airbnb Citizen for Hosts, as well as for events such as weddings, parties and other gatherings.
A brand apartment community designed for tenants for a longer period of stay such as for 180 days a year with the profits shared with the landlord. These listings will be marked as ‘Master Host’ that oversees the living experiences of its tenants including the guest check-ins, cleaning and maintenance services.
The brand is of condo homes designed to encourage the concept of home-sharing. Natiivo buildings will have hotel licenses and features amenities such as full-day concierge services, valet parking facilities, combined working spaces and much more.
Starting as a small income serving experience, Airbnb has come a long way from day one. If you are also looking into creating a similar online reservation website providing services for every individual who loves to travel, a simple online reservation script is all that you need. There are several open-source online reservation software available in the market nowadays that can be installed as the first step towards your new business venture. They can be customized to be used for hosts, guest reservations, travel agents or a combined form as per the customers’ preference. With the minimum of computer knowledge and a passion-driven urge to create a full-fledge experience for users, you are sorted!