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Airbnb’s Plans to Use Its New Funding Are Hidden in Its Latest Trademark Filing

Skift Take

The $500 million funding round may not be enough to achieve all the services Airbnb wants to add to its arsenal, but will still give it a lot of firepower to start on a slew of them. Some of the services it wants to add will compete directly with other sharing economy services.

— Rafat Ali

Airbnb’s ambitions to become a global hospitality brand — way beyond its sharing economy image — are by now leaking one new service at a time, and with its latest reported funding round that’s nearing or equalling $500 million at an eye-popping valuation of $10 billion, it will have a lot of money to put to use into all kinds of hospitality-related services.

What are those services it wants to expand into? Some of them came out in a Fast Company article earlier this week which caused a lot of buzz.

But, quietly, Airbnb filed a trademark application about a year ago that was just published and approved earlier this week, and it lists all the additional services it hopes to be building as part of its plans to become a bigger hospitality brand.

Below are the relevant parts of it, in somewhat dense filing language, and as you can see, Airbnb’s plans are across the whole travel ecosystem, short of airlines/airports. Some of these services it already has, some it has trialled, and some have not been disclosed before, until now (our comments in italics).

  • Software that allows users to communicate with each other [better communication between Airbnb users and people searching for accommodation is sorely needed]
  • Software that allows messaging among guests of lodging accommodations owned and hosted by others and among the hosts who list lodging accommodations for rent and sale [for sale?]
  • software that allows users to plan, announce, invite others to attend and evaluate real-world meetings and events [meetings industry, take note. Will it add meetings-space rentals as part of its services?]
  • software that allows users to solicit each other to perform a wide range of personal and customized services, housekeeping, cooking and related services, personalized travel, itinerary and private tour and activity services [this cuts across many sub-sectors in travel, including back-of-the-house hotel services, food & beverage, and tours and activities markets]

  • software that allows users to arrange for the remote exchange of keys to lodgings, homes and vehicles and for locking and unlocking lodgings, homes and vehicles [of huge need, obviously]
  • software management tools to permit users to manage, organize, calendar and share with others travel bookings, activity dates, photographs, opinions and preferences [better calendar management tools for travelers?]
  • software management tools to permit users to arrange for temporary lodging check-in help [part time check-in staff to help Airbnb users?]
  • software that permits listers of goods, real property and services for rent or sale to receive suggested improvements to their listing advertisements [meta-listing-services to help anyone listing on the platform]
  • software that permits listers of goods, real property and services for rent or sale to arrange for professional photographs of the listed goods, property and services [some of which it already offers, by verified Airbnb photos]
  • software to provide evaluative feedback and ratings of sellers’ goods and services, the value and prices of sellers’ goods and services, buyers’ and sellers’ performance, delivery, and overall trading experience in connection therewith [better online ratings and reputation management tools]
  • software that allows users to list and rent temporary lodging, access information, listings and announcements about housing, apartments, condominiums, townhouses, real estate, commercial real estate and rental and leasing advertisements for the foregoing [moving beyond hospitality into commercial real estate?]
  • software that allows users to provide reviews and feedback about listers and renters of real estate, temporary lodging, transportation, sharing of vehicles and rides and temporary parking [car and ride sharing, along with parking services]
  • software that allows users to make and receive payments for the rental, purchase and sale of goods and services [would Airbnb allows sales and rental of other services beyond anything in travel?]
  • software that allows users to search for travel, transportation, temporary accommodation, vehicle and ride sharing and temporary vehicle parking listings, travel information and related topics and for making reservations and bookings for transportation, temporary accommodations, vehicle and ride sharing and temporary parking [competing directly with the whole ecosystem around car sharing and likes of Uber]
  • software that allows users to provide travel reviews and recommendations for local attractions [reviews of tours and activities in a local market, moving into Tripadvisor territory]
  • software that allows vehicle owners and users to list, arrange and reserve shared vehicles and rides [more on car/ride sharing]
  • software that allows users to list, arrange and reserve temporary parking of vehicles at residences and businesses [another hint it wants to move in commercial real estate]
  • software that allows users to list and book car sharing, ride sharing and temporary parking
  • software that allows users to access information and listing of peer-to-peer transportation [transportation is a logical extension of Airbnb]
  • software that allows users to engage in social networking featuring travel, transportation, temporary lodging, shared vehicles and rides, temporary parking and the rental and listing of real estate [building a community around all of the services it will be offering]

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Tags: airbnb, sharing

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