Airbnb is a technology company that has developed a peer-to-peer rental platform that enables people to list, find, and rent short-term lodging in more than 220 countries around the world.
The company was founded by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk in 2008 when the founders were living in San Francisco and saw a demand for accommodations when there were large events in the city, such as technology conferences. They offered an inexpensive accommodation option on a website called "Airbed and Breakfast" and rented out their living room with an air mattress to a conference attendee. Seeing the larger need for alternatives to hotels, the founders developed the Airbnb platform.
Airbnb hosts can list several kinds of properties on the platform, such as single rooms, apartments, houseboats, entire houses, cabins, RVs, and castles.
Airbnb company verifies personal profiles and listings, maintains a messaging system so hosts and guests can communicate, and manages the platform to obtain and transfer payments.
In 2016, Airbnb launched a service called Trips, which took travelers out of their rentals for local tours and adventures with local tour guides. The name was eventually changed to Airbnb Experiences.
The feature is one where users can book experiences with people who are local to the area where they are staying, with experiences including visiting hot springs, food and drink tasting, boat rides, photoshoots, and more.
In April 2023, Airbnb paused new submissions for experiences on the platform but stated that the feature was intended to continue to be a part of the Airbnb offerings.
Airbnb Adventures is a more extreme version of Airbnb Experiences. Tour packages include jungle excursions, mountain trekking, stays in secluded places, experiences with exotic animals such as elephants, and sailing adventures.
Airbnb for Work was launched to accommodate remote workers, the number of which surged when the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the world. This feature shows hotels and accommodations that have reliable Wi-Fi for remote working, collaborative workspaces, and experiences that are specifically for team building within a company.
Airbnb launched its Open Homes program in 2017, which enables hosts to provide housing to refugees, displaced travelers, and people who are seeking shelter after experiencing some form of disaster.
In 2022, reports began on social media from Airbnb hosts that bookings for their accommodations had dramatically decreased, and rumors of an "Airbnbust" started circulating. However, it was found that these reports were fictitious according to data from AirDNA, a platform that pulls data from home-sharing websites, such as Airbnb and Vrbo. According to AirDNA, the demand for short-term rentals on Airbnb had actually increased in 2023.
The cause of the false posts on social media could be connected with a general backlash against the company, with hosts on the platform being displeased with unpleasant guests, renters being charged excessive and unexpected fees, and Airbnb's role in the housing crisis that some major cities are facing in the United States and across the world.
How Does Airbnb Work? Airbnb 101 Guide
October 25, 2016