Want Airbnb news? Look no further. I’ve done the legwork of reading countless headlines and articles to bring you the most relevant and interesting. I unabashedly ignore news related to temporary annoyances like overly restrictive city regulations, supposed housing crises, and topics-of-the-day like hidden cameras. This post covers fun, interesting, and unique news from October 2019.
The Airbnb IPO is bigger than we think; Top 20 Airbnb destinations in 2020; Airbnb Animal Experiences goes live; Airbnb and Google Vacation Rentals; Barbie's Malibu Airbnb Click To Tweet
Airbnb is now the first booking platform to offer a range of 1,000 cruelty-free animal experiences in 58 countries around the world. This stand-alone category is an extension of the experiences feature that rolled out in 2016. Half of the animal listings operating today were already popular offerings on the original Airbnb Experiences. Airbnb noticed such an overwhelming attraction to animal encounters that they went ahead and created Animals on Airbnb Experiences.
Airbnb CEO & Co-founder, Brian Chesky believes that a desire to connect to creatures is related to the fact that our human lives are over-saturated with technology. “Maybe this is why social media is dominated by animal memes. Life is better with animals, but for many busy people, looking at them through a screen is the closest they can get. With Airbnb Animal Experiences, locals and travelers are just a few clicks away from being alongside them in the real world. ”
Together with experts from the World Animal Protection, Airbnb developed a policy to ensure that all hosts within the program are operating ethically & responsibly. “This new animal welfare policy created in consultation with our animal welfare experts combined with the creativity and dedication of Airbnb will ensure that adventurers have many options to experience the beauty of animals in a way that considers their welfare first.” wrote Alesia Soltanpanah, Executive Director World Animal Protection.
Unicorn probs. Airbnb is making moves ahead of its 2020 public offering. Reports revealed a $306 million Q1 operating loss after a hefty investment into sales & marketing. And many fear that this inside look at Airbnb’s finances may turn off investors. The cause for concern has much to do with the WeWork story. Theirs is a tale of high value, reckless spending, and an abandoned IPO. Industry spectators are recalling familiar start-up fizzles. For example, Uber, Lyft and Peleton have all had a tumultuous journey.
Is Airbnb overdoing it? Most would say that this behavior is normal. It’s typical of a healthy company to spend excess amounts of money on S&M. Airbnb’s precise intentions are to draw attention, increase sales, and support their community of hosts & guests. Marketing expense is a knob. You turn it right, it’s more expensive, turn further, you increase your growth rate. If you wanted to save money and grow slower, you dial left. This splurge is a 100% election on Airbnb’s part.
There’s a new start-up model on the block. Several tech-enabled hospitality brands are leasing out entire buildings and designing them to meet the needs of modern business travelers. Mainly, these arbitrageurs think of themselves as professional hosts. They create luxury suites that have the consistency of a hotel with the soul of an instagrammable Airbnb. All of them promise that their 24/7 customer service support replaces front desks of the past. The most impressive leaders are Sonder and Lyric. Sonder currently takes the lead with a 1.1 billion valuation and 3,500 units in cities throughout North America and Europe. Lyric properties present the most refreshing aesthetic. Each apartment is curated with hand-selected artwork and vinyl music from local artists. Even the coffee beans are sourced from the neighborhood. This year Lyric and its Creative Suites™ received a $160 million investment. It was Airbnb that lead the funding. For Airbnb, backing Lyric is just another way to financially support its inventory as it approaches a public offering in 2020.
It’s not official. Airbnb is feeling out a trial run on Goggle Vacation Rentals. A search for European spots on Google Vacation Rentals will turn up a comprehensive list of available peer to peer accommodations. For the first time ever, Airbnb listings will appear with VRBO, hotels.com, and Booking Holdings. Though only in test mode, this looks like another strategic Airbnb move to strengthen inventory ahead of a much anticipated IPO. “In online travel, everything is tactical and not necessarily permanent. But for now, at least, those coveted Airbnb listings are appearing in Google’s vacation rental pages in some European cities. This could have big implications for both companies if those listings remain.” writes Dennis Schaal.
Home-sharing is not for everyone. It requires a friendly demeanor & a little risk-taking. And, making money always involves some risk. If you’re willing to “trade trust for convenience” as Marni Jameson describes it, then you’re ready to get started. Her article reads like a quick start-up guide and suggests that a new host should:
- follow city laws
- add vacation rental insurance
- utilize smart tech security
- prioritize cleaning
- be warm & welcoming
- reply to messages swiftly
- gently screen guests before accepting reservations
On October 23rd Airbnb is listing a one time, 2-night stay in a life-size Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse. The luxury beach house is opening its doors to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic brand. Dreamy features include Pacific Ocean views, beachy glam decor, an infinity pool, a cinema room, and a barbie doll makeover with celebrity stylist, Jen Atkin. The guest experience includes a lesson with Olympic fencing medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad. Also, Airbnb will generously make a donation to The Barbie Dream Gap Project. The initiative provides resources to support and encourage girls to follow their dreams.
Airbnb has done it again. Another unbelievable experience is up for grabs. For a limited time, fans can stay overnight in the iconic Goodyear Blimp. The famous blimp was fully furnished with swanky, mid-century digs to add to the overall experience. The sweet space includes a sitting lounge, 1 bed, 1 bath, and a full tailgate set-up just outside the aircraft. Even a pair of game tickets are provided as a bonus in the FAN-tastic package!
Airbnb just released a list of what they predict as 2020’s most desirable worldwide destinations. The rank was created by looking at the places where they saw an increase in booking percentages in comparison to the year prior. Milwaukee tops the list with a 729% increase in interest. Could it be because Milwaukee is hosting the Democratic National Convention next year? Mostly, yes.
The lakeside city boasts attractions like an architectural landmark that is actually an art museum with wings, the Pabst Mansion, brewpubs a’ plenty, and a walkable, dog-friendly city scene. Milwaukee must be something to write home about because even Vogue called it “Midwest’s coolest city” in 2018. If you were imagining something more exotic, you’d find that on the full spread. Luxembourg, Guadalajara, and Cali, Colombia, are also included as trending spots for the upcoming year. Click here to see all of Airbnb’s hot 20 of 2020.
I would love to read your comments about this news or new stuff not covered! This was Airbnb news October 2019.
Also published on Medium.