Skift Take

Worth a read, not just to appreciate the transparency into the product-led thinking of a giant, now-iconic company but also to just get inspired by some of these suggestions, and who knows, more startups to come out of these ideas.

If Airbnb could launch anything this year, what could it be? Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky last asked this question back at the start of 2017 when it was a private company, at the start a more-transparent phase of the always-controversial company.

Five years and a pandemic later, Chesky has continued to become more accessible and transparent — at least on the product side, if not the financial side — in how he runs the company and as part of that decided to bring out the question again, only this time as the CEO of a $110 billion market cap public company. Of course in keeping with the much-larger size of the company and a large personal following on Twitter for him, the responses flooded in from all around the world, many of them great startup ideas in themselves and many of them features that would make a lot of sense for Airbnb. Or Vrbo, or any other hospitality company for that matter.

With Chesky actively responding to many of the suggestions he liked — and also disclosing some of these ideas they are already actively working on or about to launch — the thread is well worth a read. We curated some of the ones we liked, including one of my own suggestions: that Airbnb should invest in a travel agency/advisor business to actively help people, particularly young families, plan and book vacations. I wouldn’t be surprised if Airbnb considers making a boutique acquisition in this space at some point, to scale it up.

Common asks: add better tools/services for co-working/digital nomad life, services for families, better search, better ways to connect people staying at Airbnbs, connecting to more local services, pricing transparency — Chesky reiterated Airbnb is working on that in a big way now and launching something soon — and of course the perennial asks of launching an airline and a loyalty program or a subscription service, and more.

One of my favorite suggestions: a way to search-and-book multiple Airbnbs around a location for larger groups or family reunions.

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Tags: airbnb, future of lodging, online travel, short-term rentals

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