After years of trying to expand into other areas, the CEO of vacation home giant Airbnb, wants to get back to basics: helping people make money.
“I was trying to create too many things at once,” Brian Chesky explained to AFP.
“Then the pandemic hit. We had to get back to our core business,” he said.
The sudden halt to world travel was a shock to the rental company and was forced to lay off a quarter of Airbnb’s workforce by 2020.
It also marks the company’s foray into travel “experiences,” Airbnb’s move into travel activities.
The health of Airbnb, along with the travel sector as a whole, has begun to recover since the Covid-19 lockdown, but once again the dark clouds are rolling in.
“The big obvious is (in most countries) we’re probably going to be in a recession, if we’re not already,” said Chesky.
The company, which employs around 6,000 people, has no plans to lay off employees like tech giants Meta, Amazon or Twitter.
Instead, they want to encourage more people to become hosts on their platform, increasing options as excitement about reopening tourism has cooled.
“We have to be affordable” to allow consumers to travel despite the deteriorating economic situation, Chesky stressed.
To meet the challenge, more homeowners are needed: “We have to help people make money,” says Chesky, especially those who don’t want to open their properties to strangers.
To encourage the reluctant, on Wednesday, Airbnb unveiled a new feature that offers tips for beginners from the site’s highly experienced “superhosts” who offer advice and recommendations for a fee paid by the company.
In another move aimed at wooing slick property owners, the San Francisco-based conglomerate will expand its user identification requirements to even more markets. It will also give homeowners tools to set better prices and lower prices.
Airbnb also announced the launch of its anti-party screening technology across the US and Canada.
Partying is a well-known corporate activity, with revelers breaking the rules to organize frenzied attacks, scaring organizers away or dissuade potential people.
The San Francisco Corporation also increased the amount of damage covered by its in-house insurance program from $1 million to $3 million.
Chesky hasn’t given up on diversification in the long run. In five or 10 years, “I hope we’ll do more than just host tourists,” he said.
In particular, the entrepreneur intends to revive the “experience”.
“There’s a huge business waiting. But it’s going to take longer than I thought.. it turns out that matching supply and demand is a bit more difficult,” he said.
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