About AirBNB

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Airbnb, a community website for people to rent out and book accommodations online or via mobile devices, was established in 2008. People can monetize their extra room by Airbnb, and travelers will have the ability to have an exclusive, customized travel experience at a price they can afford.

Currently, Airbnb has about 3 million listings in 191 countries and 65,000 cities worldwide (About Us).

This privately-owned firm headquartered in San Francisco has a market-disrupting business model in that it is a travel and leisure company that does not own any property but works all over the world. The business model is simple: Airbnb is a broker who receives commissions from both guests and hosts with every booking.

History of the Company

The company started with a real need that the founders faced. Current CEO Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia couldn’t afford to pay rent. In 2007, Chesky and Gebbia decided to convert their loft into a transient lodging space. They placed three airbeds on the floor, and threw in free home-cooked breakfast into the package. In order to advertise their space, they set up a simple website and rented the bed space and breakfast for $80 each (Crook and Escher).

In spring 2008, Chesky and Gebbia asked the helped of their former roommate, engineer Nathan Blecharczyk to join their team and launch their company in the Summer of 2008, just in time for the Democratic National Convention, as they were getting ready for the influx of people. They launch their brand new website called Airbed & Breakfast. They continued to collect funding for their company and with seed capital in place from various venture capitalists, in 2009, Airbed & Breakfast officially becomes Airbnb. In 2011, the company saw 800% growth, with listings in 89 different countries (Crook & Escher).

Organizational Structure

Airbnb prides itself on having a lean team. Unlike traditional organizations, theirs is not top and bottom heavy. They just rely on strategic groups who have excellent work ethic, results-oriented mindset, and innovative practices to make everything work. Brian Chesky is the CEO, and underneath him are nine people: the CFO, Laurence Tosi, Business Affairs and Legal, Marketing, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder Joe Gebbia, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder Nathan Blecharczyk, Global Head of Employee Experience, Head of Global Communications and Strategic Engagement, Head of Global Operations, and Managing Director – Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Managerial Practices and Organizational Culture

Airbnb has managerial practices that ran counter to what most global corporations do. For one thing, the company believes in lean teams. You would think that with the company’s global presence, there are hundreds of people working per geographic region. However, there are only 6-7 people working per geographic region, and that works pretty well for the company. Aside from following a lean organizational principle, it also follows agile managerial principles, which means that these are a cross-functional group of people, a team that has shared accountability. In agile teams, roles and responsibilities do not matter as much as results.

Because Airbnb puts together hosts and prospective guests all over the world, property owners have to be open and unbiased in welcoming guests. The company has released an official statement saying that “Discrimination has no place on our platform.” Airbnb has a strong Nondiscrimination Policy and they have a team solely dedicated to fighting bias and encouraging diversity among all its members. What is unique about Airbnb is that the community is leading the way to cultivate the company culture. Guests and hosts alike create the unique Airbnb experience. Hosts are expected to cultivate unbiased hospitality, and share tools for learning and advocating.

Airbnb is also striving to become an inclusive company. They have declared that “Belonging is at our core”. They value diversity in their workforce, and are transparent in their statistics. On the website, they declared that in 2016, there are 42.88% females in the workforce, and they have also declared the percentage of ethnicity that they employ. The corporate headquarters also have employee-led resource groups called “Airfinity Groups” that create awareness and advocacy for their community. Examples of “Airfinity Groups” are: Black, Foreignairs, Asians, Juntos, Natives, Parents, Tribe, and Women.

Airbnb has taken the approach of creating community, and disseminating best community practices. Their emphasis is on community and connectedness, and this is evident in their corporate culture, and their top management, and the community of hosts all over the world. Their “Belong Anywhere” branding is practices by everyone in the company, and their co-founders are leading the way, having consistently visited and stayed at the homes of key hosts all over the world (Sundararajan).

Works Cited

“About Us.” Airbnb. https://www.airbnb.com/about/about-us Accessed 6 May 2017.

Crook, Jordan and Escher, Anna. A Brief History of Airbnb. Tech Crunch. 2015.

techcrunch.com/gallery/a-brief-history-of-airbnb Accessed 6May 2017.

Sundararajan, Arun. “What Airbnb Gets About Culture that Uber Doesn’t.” Harvard Business Review, November 27, 2014. hbr.org/2014/11/what-airbnb-gets-about-culture-

that-uber-doesn’t Accessed 6 May 2017

December 15, 2022
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