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Magical travel experiences and new market segments: Airbnb wants to offer more than accommodation

Airbnb was founded in 2008 to provide accommodation in private apartments. It has since become a global player, pulling in top employees from Amazon and the aviation industry, and aims to become a “travel super brand.” The company wants to grow but, in doing so, keep its connection with people and remain focused on facilitating magical, authentic travel experiences, ensured Greg W. Greeley, Airbnb’s President of homes in a CEO interview at ITB Marketing & Distribution Day.

“There are many ways one can book magical moments,” explained Greeley. He referred to the fact that more than 20,000 activities and experiences are now available on Airbnb, and that, since last year, boutique hotels can be booked on the platform in addition to private accommodation. The Airbnb-Plus segment and offerings for business travellers, including a corporate relocation service, are other new areas of business. Asked about potential future activities in the transport sector, Greeley explained that it is open to a lot of innovation. His colleagues would need time, however, to come up with appropriate ideas.

In the CEO interview led by Damon Embling from Euronews, Greeley also responded to accusations that Airbnb contributes to rising rents in cities and the displacement of residents. “Housing shortages were already a problem in major cities before Airbnb even existed,” countered Greeley. “Sometimes we are simply the scapegoat,” he continued – pointing to the fact that many Airbnb hosts use the income from subletting first to pay their own rent.

Rainer Heubeck

ITB Berlin 2019, ITB Berlin Convention, ITB Marketing & Distribution Day, Airbnb, Greg W. Greeley, Damon Embling.

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