Airbnb, Incorporated is a web-based marketplace for short-term rental accommodations, especially for vacationers. It is currently based in San Francisco, California with other branches in New York and Los Angeles. The platform is mostly accessible through its mobile application and website. It categorizes rentals into categories like studio, apartment, house, vacation, studios, townhouse, and vacation homes. It also provides user ratings and reviews on local accommodations.
Based on a social network approach, Airbnb uses its matching system to find roommates who share the same values as you do. The system matches hosts with guests, in terms of geography, interests, age, and price. Hosts represent themselves as private homeowners or businesses. Guests can browse through available listings either by selecting a category or customizing the search to match a specific location. Using the customized listing feature, people browsing can narrow their search to view only those apartments that match their criteria.
The startup offers free bookings through its mobile app, email messaging service, and website. It also has a unique feature called Secretaries, which helps hosts indicate if they are available through the day and night, and inform guests of any special events. It does not charge an airline service fee or require a minimum income requirement, unlike other home sharing communities that have such fees.
Airbnb is different from other home sharing platforms by having a set of principles it believes in, including its own version of a community and a set of rules for its hosts. The group also aims to connect homeowners and guests by building a community of active owners and moderators. In essence, Airbnb aims to create a home for its members to live in and share property ownership through a website. To encourage growth, the startup is offering a host guarantee, which is a one-time fee charged to renters for unlimited usage. The idea is to provide a sustainable income for its members and to ensure that the company can pay for itself in the long run.
Homeowners can also cancel their rentals at any time without paying an additional cancellation fee. The company also has an extensive cancellation policy, which allows hosts to cancel their account without providing a reason. The startup does not impose any late fees or penalties on guests who decide to cancel their accounts and does not have a property maintenance fee. The only service fee that the startup charges is a one-time up front fee. The team behind the project claims that the site features a user-friendly interface, easy to navigate listings, flexible home rental terms and an extensive set of rental options for both long-term and short-term stays.
There is no word on whether or not the site is going to expand into cities like San Francisco. So far, it appears to be confined to New York and Chicago, but it could soon spread to more locations if the buzz around it is worth the attention of tourists and locals alike. The site is a fascinating blend of new technology with old fashioned hospitality. If you are a resident of either city and are interested in finding a property online, you should definitely give airbnb a try. It could very well become the next Yanks favorite.