Airbnb has carved out its niche, establishing itself as the go-to platform for travel; What can startups learn from Airbnb’s strategy and practices?
Airbnb never ceases to amaze. Last November, the short-term home rental marketplace announced to its users worldwide that they can now book more than just homes. The company is branching out to tours and creating memorable local experiences with its Trips platform, fulfilling its promise of truly letting you “experience a city like a local.”
For other sharing economy marketplaces that are just starting out, achieving Airbnb status is a dream. Learning from their success, many factors come into play, from the way its founders created a community of like-minded hosts and guests, to how the company handled scandals and racial discrimination cases. There’s a method to how the unicorn lives up to its hype. Here’s what Arcadier has learned from Airbnb’s Trips platform:
1. Build your own ecosystem
The Trips platform — which consists of Experiences, Places and Homes — is hailed as the most significant development in Airbnb’s eight year history. Instead of booking the regular room or home at a city of your choice, through the Trips platform, you can book everything from short lessons to week-long excursions according to your schedule. Airbnb is also actively creating demand through its Trips platform. The nature-inspired tours, artisan craft lessons, gastronomic adventures, and other Experiences listed are truly tempting!
Even more ambitious, Airbnb aims to be the go-to app that caters to every aspect of a traveler’s trip. The company has plans to add Flights and Services into the mix, which could possibly cement the sharing economy marketplace’s position as the biggest player in the travel industry. Trip Itinerary is a new feature that collates the user’s itinerary into one simple timeline, with a user-friendly and interactive feature that lets you add more Experiences to it.
Photo credit: Airbnb
2. Create memorable experiences by catering to different interests
If you’ve ever been disappointed with the lack of personal human contact at a property you booked with Airbnb, you’ll get so much more from Airbnb Trips. We’re talking about a marketplace for experiences like secret tasting menus, concerts, tours organized by your local Airbnb guide, and meetups. Want to try making violins in Paris, learning from a sushi master in Tokyo, or running a marathon in Kenya? These experiences are incredibly personal and well-suited for avid travelers who loathe going to tourist traps.
For audiophiles who are drawn to travel because of music, Airbnb announced the launch of Music Experiences this March. It offers access to intimate live music performances, underground concerts, and experiences hosted by those involved in the local music scene. Impressive enough, Airbnb boasts Sofar Sounds — whose alumni include Bastille, Hozier, and Tom Odell — as a host. By incorporating the traveler’s interests and hobbies into its offering, Airbnb can create truly memorable experiences.
“Until now, Airbnb has been about homes,” said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in a press statement in November 2016. “Today, Airbnb is launching Trips, bringing together where you stay, what you do, and the people you meet all in one place. We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip.”
Photo credit: Airbnb
3. Foster trust, and fulfill your promises
One can view the Trips platform as Airbnb’s way of enhancing the truly immersive travel experience it promised its users. Additionally, at the same time, Airbnb also introduced a new identity authentication process for the Experiences Community. It mandates guests and hosts to scan their official government ID and take a selfie. This, coupled with the Trip platform’s Meet ups, help to foster trust in the marketplace.
Meetups, which is part of Airbnb’s commitment to make travel more social, are gatherings for Airbnb guests, hosted by a local businesses. As Airbnb puts it, “Now, you can hang out with locals and go places they love, not only stay in their homes.”
Real-life as well as virtual community gatherings are important, as users have a chance to interact, fostering trust among the host and guest community, as well as validating their experiences. Additionally, meet ups create buzz and can be used as a powerful marketing tool.
Airbnb is taking the sharing economy to the next level with its Trips platform. Learned something new that you can apply to your startup or marketplace? Share what you learned in the comments below!
About the writer: Clarissa Santoso is a Marketing Communications Specialist at Arcadier, a SaaS company that powers next generation marketplace ideas. You can follow Arcadier on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for the latest insights on the sharing economy.
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