Saturday, July 9, 2016

Event-Goer: Won't You be My Neighbor?

Are you an adventurous event-goer?

Airbnb wants you.

Room-sharing represents the ultimate way for event-goers to personalize business travel, says company exec Chip Conley.

While she once aspired to stay in a predictably clean and conveniently located hotel, today's event-goer seeks “discovery”—a craving Airbnb satisfies by providing rooms in every sort of neighborhood.

The company fills a need that's not without precedent, Conley says:
  • Home-swapping dates to the 1950s, when the Dutch teachers' union suggested members could swap houses to save on vacation rentals.
  • VRBO web-ified peer-to-peer vacation rentals in 1995.
  • Boutique hotels surged about the same time, proving “there was a growing number of customers for whom predictability and ubiquity were not the right model."
Airbnb targets “customers who are a little adventurous, especially in locations that they know already,” Conley says.

To accommodate event planners, Airbnb is hawking widgets planners can embed in their websites. The widgets link attendees to blocks of Airbnb listings available during the event's dates and in proximity to the event's venue. 

Following in the footsteps of Amazon and Netflix, the company plans to use algorithms to become a global hospitality giant, according to Conley.
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