Is This The Future of Airbnb?

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In this podcast, Mark discusses insights from a recent interview with Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky. Chesky hinted at a shift from focusing on spaces to building a global travel community, emphasizing robust user profiles for trust. 

Mark speculates Airbnb may become a matchmaking platform, tailoring experiences through data and AI. He anticipates Airbnb's move towards communal spaces like hostels and building a core community of enthusiastic hosts and guests. 

Mark advises property owners to enhance guest experiences and build brand communities. He urges businesses to adapt to evolving trends, emphasizing embracing the journey. Mark invites listeners to share thoughts on Airbnb's future and the changing hospitality landscape.

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Timestamps (audio)



[00:00:00] Mark: Come on in. Good afternoon. Good evening. Welcome, wherever you are tuning in from around the world. Do let me know in the comments so I can see who you are, where you are and where you are tuning in from also as well. Uh, let me know the name of your business, drop any links, and promote it. Because as I always say, you never know who's going to be watching this video.

[00:00:16] Your future guests could be watching this video, whether it's live or on the replay. But the reason why I'm doing this podcast episode, this live recording of a podcast is because today I watched an interview with Brian Chesky on Stephen Bartlett's very popular, uh, diary of the CEO. It's about 12 hours old at the point of recording.

[00:00:37] Uh, it's had over nearly about a hundred thousand views. And in my opinion, really good interview, real good insight into, you know, who he is, why he's done what he's done, why they've created what they've created and all the things in between.

Insight into the next phase

[00:00:49] But there's one bit right at the very end, one hour and 29 minutes in where I believe we're getting an insight into the next phase, of Airbnb.

[00:01:02] Now I've got the video here. I'm going to share my screen. Hopefully, this works. And I'm going to play it, okay? And I'm going to play it in the full two-minute segment that we get a clip of. And then, if you want to go watch the full video, go onto YouTube, type Diary of a CEO, Brian Chesky, and it will come up.

[00:01:21] It's a really good, uh, like I say, one hour, nearly two hours, uh, listen or watch, however, you're going to do it. But let's just, let's just listen right here. I'm going to hit play.

[00:01:32] You've gone through a lot of personal changes over the last couple of years, um, and that's sort of inspired the next chapter of Airbnb, it seems about connection and being more than just, uh, people renting out their, their houses.

[00:01:44] What is the next chapter for Airbnb? So I think when people see Airbnb on the surface, they see homes, and most of those homes are empty. And the reason you book them is because you can save money. Maybe you can live like a local, um, you can have these cool, memorable vacations, but you know, it's, it's, it's a, it's a, it's a space.

[00:02:07] And I think that the centre of gravity of Airbnb over time, I like to shift from the spaces to the people. I think at the end of the day, we're not just a service. We're not just a product. I think what I'd like everybody to become is more of a community, more of a global travel community. And I think in that community, I imagine that everyone will have this robust profile.

[00:02:37] And with, with this rich identity system, so we know who everyone is and everyone knows who everyone else is, which I think is the foundation of trust. The profiles are really rich with public information and personal information like preferences. And you come to Airbnb not just to find a space, but because Airbnb, the app, the brand, the company.

[00:02:59] You feel like it knows you and understands who you are and really what you want. It may be initially for travel but eventually could go beyond travel. And then…

[00:03:11] Mark: Okay, so that little segment there was, was very telling to me. And everybody that has been on, on the app, on the website in the last couple of months, you will know that the profile section, now your profile section, the bit where you put all your information in, that has changed drastically.

[00:03:29] It used to be you put your profile picture, a little bit, and that's it. Now you can add your likes, your dislikes. And that's only going to get more intense over time. And, as well, if you've been listening and tuning into the interviews with Skift and other forums where Brian Chesky goes on, he's been talking about AI.

[00:03:49] Data-driven. You know, it says this a lot. So. I said this as an off-cut remark, but I think it's true.

What Airbnb is doing

[00:03:56] What Airbnb is doing is they're becoming the tender of the OTA world. They're going to become a matchmaker. So your future potential guest doesn't matter whether it's number A, number B or number C, it's going to be different to you if it's watching it at home.

[00:04:12] So for example, I can see Dave's watching. I can see Jonas is watching with me. So. Dave's Airbnb experience is going to be different to Jonas is going to be different to mine. It's going to be based on my likes and I want so much data that they can collect. And this will either be AI-driven or it will be algorithm-driven, however, it's going to be dictated or dedicated or shown to us.

[00:04:36] So what's going to happen? This is my this is my opinion. And again, I'm an idiot. But this is what I can see really between the lines is that this site is going to become Much more of a match-making process. I feel like the way that he was talking and he keeps talking about community and family, et cetera.

[00:04:55] I feel like what they're wanting to go towards is, you know, like, like, like hostels. I won't be all surprised to see Airbnb get involved in a hostel world, trying to get loads of people together in one space. The rooms thing is, and again, as a little nod to that, I also think that Airbnb will look to focus on a core community.

[00:05:16] Just go and look at the comments on that video. For every one positive, I saw five people slate an Airbnb. And, you know, they can either be slating Airbnb, or they're just slating the world of short-term rentals because it's affected their area of community. Whatever your opinion is on that. I think that what Airbnb is going to go towards, they're going to focus on a core community.

[00:05:37] They're going to, you know, there's a lot of people leaving the platform. You don't have to be an idiot to see that. A lot of people are going back to hotels. Those that maybe were in the hotel camp pre, uh, pandemic status. When hotels and cruises and all of that shut down, people went to short-term rentals and they naturally went to Airbnb because they were branding and positioning at the time.

[00:06:00] But now they're sort of going away from that. A lot of people are fed up of having to, you know, take the trash out when they went at the end of their stay and all of those sorts of things. And so I feel like with, with Airbnb, they, they know that people are leaving, but they're cool with that. The shareholders may not be cool with that because of this really big valuation with the IPO and they're at the top of the mountain, so to speak, but they know that we're going to And what's going to be left is that there's going to be hosts on the platform that are going to be able to be just raving fans of Airbnb.

[00:06:37] That's what I firmly believe. They will be matched up with guests who love the platform, are obsessed with the platform, and are going to go and stay at other Airbnb host places. And that will be what's left. And that's fine. I feel like Airbnb will be fine like that. Again, if you look at the Skift interview at the forum last week, he's admitted that the growth has been substantial.

[00:07:03] It's been huge, but they haven't been able to cope with it. So I feel like they'll hit a level where they're happy with it. Again, this is just my opinion. It's not packed with any data or anything like that. So what I think that everybody needs to be able to do is with your listing on Airbnb. If you've got the owner-to-rent model, so the properties are yours, always be thinking, how can you, instead of looking to add in three or four more properties, how can you make your property even better?

How can you make that experience?

[00:07:32] How can you make that experience? I feel like Airbnb is going to come back to this experience model. So every single part of the journey every single part of the stay. They can make it an OMG. OTA.

[00:07:44] I've said this before. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you look at the way that the listing and the websites are laid out, you look at the categories, you look at the places that they're promoting, first and foremost, it's these OMG places. It's not a two, two-bed apartment in the middle of the city centre.

[00:08:00] It's a, it's a boot, you know, it's a barge, it's a whatever. It's these places that have got amazing, amazing experiences around them. If you haven't got one of those places, then what can you do to make it an experience? Now, it may be that people are going to leave Airbnb because they don't want that. They want a hotel stay, or they may fancy going on Verbo or another OTA may pop up, or whatever.

[00:08:26] But for you as a business owner that's watching this and bearing in mind, this is the Boostly podcast. We talk about direct bookings and how you can build your business on your land. You've got to see what these guys are doing and you've got to see how they're pivoting, et cetera. And I feel that everything boils down to community and building a brand.

What can you do?

[00:08:45] So what can you do within your business and your small business? How can you take that and how can you build a community around it? The simple thing that we did in our family business years and years and years ago was create a Facebook group. We called it the VIP Green React group. And we added our guests into it and they were able to share pictures and stays and reviews and places that we went and we built a superfans and a community around that.

[00:09:09] A great couple of books that you can check out if you want to dig into this a little bit further. Uh, there's a book called Superfans by Pat Flynn. Superfans. And there's also a blog by Kevin Kelly called 1000 True Fans. If you go dig into them. And then obviously, you know, you've got talk triggers by Jay Baer that I've talked a lot, a lot about as well.

[00:09:28] If you can dig into those three, this is how you create a community. This is how you can create super fans around the hospitality brand. Overall, the interview, I said, really good, um, really good insights from himself about, you know, and Stephen Bartlett can, can tease out these really good questions about, uh, you know, what's he's enjoyed and what he hasn't enjoyed, et cetera.

[00:09:48] I mean, the most important for me to take from that interview was to love what you do. You know, embrace the journey, not the destination. Um, he speaks about how, you know, he had that 100 billion valuation and he just felt lonely because he hadn't got the people around him to be able to celebrate it with, which was kind of sad.

[00:10:07] Um, so those are my takeaways, but this, as always in the podcast is where I passed the conversation on to you, the conversation onto you. Number one, have you seen the podcast? Have you watched the podcast? What are your thoughts? What do you feel about it? If, you want to go and check out the full video, just go and search on YouTube.

[00:10:24] It's everywhere on there getting a hundred thousand views. It's very, very popular. And then Lee, come back into the comments and let me know what your thoughts are. What do you think is the future of Airbnb? What do you think the future is, of that platform? Either good, bad or everything in between.

[00:10:38] Having a blast, gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast. Bruce Lee like Bruce Lee, cause it's so hard and the tea is loose leaf. Making up those rhymes, don't write it, just do it loosely.