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Airbnb

Challenge

Enable peer-to-peer rental of living space.

Problem

Many people have trouble affording their home or have space they could make available for short periods of time without wanting to long-term sublet. Finding potential short-term tenants safely is not easy.

Equally, many people cannot afford to travel or take up short-term contracts in major cities due to the high cost of somewhere to stay.

Solution

Airbnb (short for Air Bed and Breakfast) provides an online marketplace to connect people wanting to rent space with those looking for accommodation. There are clear benefits to both ‘hosts’ and ‘guests’ from deriving extra income from one’s home for the former, to cheap and unusual accommodation for the latter. The site offers a safe way to connect and enables critical mass for the service to grow. Airbnb makes use of photos and videos to highlight the accommodation on offer which ranges from treehouses to castles.

The service, which was started to meet demand for conferences, is now being expanded to monthly sublets. The main demand is for tourism and many cities have seen the benefits from expansion of the service driving visitor numbers.

Airbnb has 250,000 listings in 30,000 cities and 192 countries.

Benefits

Enables hundreds of people to keep their homes by deriving an income from them
Airbnb used their service power to help find short-term accommodation in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012
Dedicated base of users and followers can be tapped into for ideas and rapid take up of new offerings

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