The following post is from Justine Santa Cruz, Production Coordinator.
If you’re not already familiar, Airbnb is an online marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — think about it as the Kayak for the amazing home rentals.
From a desktop or from your mobile device, you can easily browse apartments for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month. Who knew staying at a castle could be cheaper than a hotel?
Currently, Airbnb offers housing in 19,000 cities across 192 countries and is growing rapidly.
But above all these things, Airbnb is a growing threat to hotel properties around the world. For the dollar-conscious traveler, Airbnb is the growing second option to popular hotel chains.
Airbnb has booked over 5 million nights to date. For a three-year-old start up, that’s something hard to ignore.
Also hard to ignore is AirBnb’s recent purchase of a UK apartment rental service, Crashpadder. Right in time for the 2012 Olympics. Airbnb has created a surge of supply in a market demanding for more rooms. And they’ve done all this with no new infrastructure. Although a UK brand, Crashpadder has over 7,000 hosts in 100 counties and 2,500 cities around the world. That’s a smart buy for growing Airbnb.
Additionally, Airbnb has been named one of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company. According to the magazine, Airbnb deserves the 19th spot on the prestigious list “for turning spare rooms into the world’s hottest hotel chain.”
Lastly, I know that Airbnb is a threat because I’ve personally experienced the joy and ease of this brand.
Just this past Easter weekend, I had family come and visit me but I knew I couldn’t possibly house them in my 500 sq. ft. one-bedroom apartment. Thus, the hotel search began. Washington D.C. hotels were at a record high, averaging $200/night for city hotels, and since my family was only staying for two days, I didn’t want to house them outside of D.C. and waste the weekend traveling back and forth. As I was scanning the web for any last minute deals, I came across Airbnb and found a match. It was a two-bedroom English basement apartment in Glover Park. It housed 5 people (perfect!) and at $140/night was significantly cheaper than the going hotel rates. As soon as I booked the room, I got a confirmation from a lovely couple who owned the space. Before you knew it, I was dropping off my family at their rental home for the weekend. Fully furnished, clean, and walking distance to popular D.C. attractions.
Of course, this situation isn’t ideal for everyone. There will always be travelers who prefer hotel stays. Hoteliers shouldn’t think lightly of this phenomenon as it continues to prove to be an alternative to hotels. Airbnb may be a long way from becoming the next billion dollar hotel chain but it’s on its way and it’s growing fast.
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