March 04, 2013

Airbnb looks to disrupt travel industry


A new wave of hospitality is sweeping the multi-billion dollar travel industry. Thanks to the internet people aren’t just ditching their travel agents, they’re ditching traditional resorts and hotels too.

Airbnb is one of the start-ups leading the revolution. Their website connects travelers with locals. So instead of staying in that high-priced hotel, you can stay in an actual house or apartment.

CEO Brian Chesky says they’re not re-inventing the vacation, just bringing back an old trend. “People keep thinking this is some bold new idea,” he says, “but actually up until 100 years ago, or say World War II, when people traveled staying in a home was actually very normal.”

Chesky and his friends/co-founders, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, stumbled on the idea six years ago when they couldn’t pay rent.

“An international design conference was coming to San Francisco,” Chesky recalls, “all the hotels were sold out and [I said], what if we created a bed and breakfast for the conference. Unfortunately I didn't have any beds but Joe had three air beds. We inflated them and we called it the 'Air Bed and Breakfast.' We ended up hosting three people from around the world, we made enough money to make our rent, but more importantly it was like we got to travel without leaving our home.”

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