What makes the product successful?
Airbnb is a successful product because it provides a place for users to find an affordable, comfy place while traveling and host their house while they are away. This product effectively targets two types of users. It allows users to rent out their homes or spare rooms. Also, it contains many details and criteria a user can search for when looking for a home or room when they are traveling. It also provides photos of the place.
Airbnb is successful because it allows users to experience different locations as a local. Airbnbs are located in neighborhoods, and they can be near beaches, main streets, main attractions, or they can be secluded. Furthermore, Airbnbs provide flexibility that hotels are not able to accommodate. For example, check-in and check-out policies.
Additionally, they act as a home away from home in contrast to hotels. Also, Airbnbs often have more space for a cheaper price compared to hotels, resorts, etc. This includes more rooms and also amenities such as a kitchen and a laundry room.
What did they get right?
When browsing the Airbnb website, something that stands out at first glance is that they provide features in addition to just finding a place to stay. Some of these additional options are “experiences,” which are activities hosted by locals, and “restaurants.” These are reviewed by Airbnb users.
What makes this different from other tourist-friendly websites such as TripAdvisor is that it is way more personalized. When looking at a certain city on the Airbnb website you will find a photographer selling a “Photoshoot on Brooklyn Bridge,” or a workshop on “The Art of Hat-making,” or “The Fabulous Drag Show Crawl” — the list goes on. In my opinion, this really makes Airbnb stand out from other travel websites because the experiences you can find on there are not the typical spots available everywhere else that would be overcrowded with tourists.
Another smaller feature that really stood out to me was a “language offered” option when browsing through things to do in a certain city. This strongly portrays Airbnb’s international reach and their value of inclusivity. Providing this option is an excellent idea because it allows people from many different backgrounds to be able to immerse themselves in a city’s culture without enduring a language barrier.
How did the people behind this product think about this idea?
Before Airbnb became a $25 billion dollar company, it was originally just an idea to make rent and make some extra money. After hosting three people who rented out the space, they provided air mattresses, breakfast, and acted as tour guide for their guests. Charging each guest $80, co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia felt that they stumbled onto something “bigger” that could later rival the hotel industry.
Even after enlisting the help of Nathan Blecharczyk, the third and final co-founder, they faced rejection many times until finally the company caught its big break becoming a worldwide success with Airbnb possibilities in 89 different countries. Airbnb today is a very popular choice next to hotels in which you can rent out a unique space.