Modern-day challenges call for modern-day solutions. And that’s exactly what Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia did when they fell on hard times, struggling to pay the rent after having recently moved from New York to San Francisco and being, at the time, very much unemployed. They soon noticed that every conceivable place to stay was fully booked due to the popularity of the San Francisco Industrial Design Conference, and came up with a plan. They purchased a number of air-beds, put up a site called, “Air Bed and Breakfast” and soon played hosts to the first three Airbnb guests sleeping on inflatable mattresses on their floor.
And that is the story of how the most popular getting paid for your pad solution got started. The rest, as they say, is history, and today Airbnb has more than 2 million accommodation listings in 190 countries and 34,000 cities. Despite the initial naysayers predicting that the idea would soon die out due to the activities of criminal opportunists looking to exploit the system, the company has grown at a phenomenal rate and its powers that be are now looking into starting none other than an airline.
From the word go, Airbnb was all about creating a simple solution to a complex problem. Initially it was affordable housing and accommodation, next in line may very well be providing new and fresh solutions in the airline industry.
Co-founder Brian Chesky put the question of what people thought of when they imagined the perfect flying experience, to Twitter users, approximately a year ago. The answers were, in many ways, exactly what you would expect and also what is amiss with the commercial airline industry today: getting from point A to B faster, cheaper, whilst enjoying an overall better travelling experience.
The fact of the matter is, typical mainstream airlines offer quite the opposite of what people desire from an airline. It’s all about making the most profit in the shortest possible time frame, which is in essence, a recipe for a customer service disaster.
Yet, the situation prevails and the airlines keep making a buck a minute off of its unsatisfied customer-base because quite simply put, there are no alternatives.
But that is all about to change as the ‘Air’ in Airbnb may just have acquired an entirely different meaning, and jetting off to Vegas may soon be as easy as playing casino games on your desktop or mobile device.
Taking To The Skies
Starting up a new airline isn’t cheap, that much is for sure. But considering the fact that Airbnb is now officially valued at $31billion, this puts a new spin on the perspective of things. Consider for example, American Airlines, currently capped in the market at an estimated $26billion. Suddenly the idea becomes one that isn’t so far-fetched after all.
What’s more, existing airlines have woken up and paid attention. No small wonder either, as Airbnb has already given the entire hotel industry a serious run for its money in its single decade of existence.
Airbnb will most likely enter the airline market in the same unexpected and disruptive way in which it entered and disrupted the hotel and tourism industry. In 2016, Airbnb explored the idea of enabling users to book flights via the site, but it soon became apparent that the market for booking and managing flights was already saturated.
In true Airbnb style, where necessity really is the mother of all creative invention, the team has now set its sights on much more ambitious plans than merely offering an airline booking service.
Airbnb may very well be entering the airline industry in a much more mind-blowing way very soon.