Today, we are providing a brief update regarding our company, our community, and our work to fulfill our mission.
Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere and we are focused on creating an end-to-end travel platform that will handle every part of your trip. As we work to achieve this goal, we are focused on building for the future, driving strong sustained growth, and creating new businesses that will power long-term success.
In 2018, we saw strong growth throughout our company: our core homes business enjoyed robust growth, Airbnb Experiences are now available in more than 1,000 cities, and we continued to optimize our platform to support the expansion and development of new business units. At the same time, Airbnb put in place senior leaders who are focused on investing in growth and long-term profitability.
Airbnb is poised to build on this momentum in 2019 and beyond:
- Our platform is fueled by hosts and guests who are loyal to Airbnb because we treat them like members of a community, not commodities.
- We have an unrivaled brand and have built a loyal and growing community. One Google official recently commented, “In terms of online searches Airbnb is now the most searched-for accommodations brand.” And Airbnb is increasingly popular with millennials. For example, when YouGov BrandIndex’s Word of Mouthasked millennials in the UK about brands they had discussed in the past two weeks, nearly 70 percent mentioned Airbnb.
- Our community has created a truly global network effect. Guests who are seeking unique listings and experiences around the world find what they want at Airbnb. That demand generates greater opportunities for even more hosts.
- Our community offers unique, high-quality accommodations and experiences that have created a new way to travel that did not exist before and cannot be found anywhere else.
This memo does not discuss all of our work, but instead offers a few select updates regarding our company and our community.
Powered by Our Community
Airbnb got started offering unique accommodations to travelers and, after our strongest year ever, our business continues to grow:
- By the end of the first quarter of 2019, we project that there will have been over 500 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings since Airbnb was founded in 2008.
- Airbnb hosts and guests have left more than 250 million reviews, an accumulation of reviews that has created a currency of trust that cannot be replicated.
- For the second year in a row, Airbnb was profitable on an EBITDA basis.
- Airbnb continues to offer a wide range of unique accommodations. For example, on New Year’s Eve alone 2,574 guests stayed in castles, 1,031 guests stayed in treehouses and 121 guests stayed in windmills.
A Strong Executive Team
Led by Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Community Brian Chesky, Airbnb has built a strong executive team with a series of key leaders who joined or assumed new responsibilities in 2018:
- President of Homes Greg Greeley is leading a robust and aggressive plan to both support the hosts who have always powered Airbnb and expand our accommodation offerings into new areas.
- COO Belinda Johnson has used her extensive knowledge of the company to design an operating system that is making us more efficient and continues to ensure that our company keeps up with our growing community. In this role, Johnson leads the Airbnb Customer Experience, Payments and Trust and Safety Teams, three critical functions that help drive Airbnb’s growth.
- CTO Ari Balogh is leading infrastructure, information security and IT, along with engineering for Payments, trust, and community support. This work is essential to ensuring our platform can continue to scale existing business units and support new business units.
- CFO Dave Stephenson joined Airbnb in January. He will use his experience in growing large businesses quickly at scale to ensure we are investing for both growth and long-term profitability.
- Ken Chenault and Ann Mather joined the Airbnb Board of Directors as our first non-affiliated independent directors.
Airbnb for Work
Travelers want to feel like they belong in the communities they visit, even when they are traveling on business. Employers are listening to their employees and taking action. To date, more than 300,000 companies are directly engaged with Airbnb to help manage their travel.
Business travelers also are increasingly using Airbnb for shorter trips for which they may have booked hotels in the past. A year ago, the average trip on Airbnb for Work was six nights or more. Today, the average stay with Airbnb for Work is about five days, and the fastest-growing segment of trips is three nights or less.
In addition to business travel, we know there are other unique attributes Airbnb can offer companies to help them attract, retain, and motivate talent. In 2018, Airbnb for Work expanded beyond just business travel to include team building, offsites and meetings, and relocations. Only 25 percent of employees within a company travel for work. With our 2018 expansion, we have an opportunity to bring the 75 percent that don’t travel onto the Airbnb platform and into our community.
Strong Partnerships with Policymakers
Airbnb treats policymakers and regulators as allies, not adversaries, and we have crafted partnerships with governments and organizations around the world. To date, we have collected and remitted more than $1 billion in hotel and tourist taxes, and we recently signed new agreements in communities in Germany, Italy and Switzerland, just to name a few. We also continue to work in partnership with governments to pass smart rules for home sharing in cities and countries around the world. Some notable highlights include:
- Los Angeles: The City Council voted to legalize home sharing and created a pathway to regulate the city’s long-standing vacation rental market.
- Seattle: The city—which is one of Airbnb’s largest US markets—will implement its short-term rental rules passed in late 2017 that legitimize both home sharing and vacation rentals across the city.
- France: Airbnb has been collecting and remitting taxes in France since 2015, and extended the effort in 2018 to more than 23,000 French cities. Airbnb also secured unilateral agreements with the French government and other accommodation platforms on new measures to promote responsible home sharing, which the government described as “a concrete step benefitting French families.”
- New South Wales (Sydney): Airbnb’s most popular destination market in Australia enacted progressive rules for home sharing in June.
- South Korea: The South Korean governmentannouncedtheir intention to revise the Tourism Promotion Act (TPA) to allow urban residents to share their homes with domestic travelers.
At the end of 2016, we launched 500 Airbnb Experiences. As we have worked to build out Experiences, we have placed a premium on quality and vet thousands of submissions a week to ensure we accept only those that meet our standards. We are pleased to announce that after applying these standards we now have Experiences available in more than 1,000 cities, and many have never been offered on any other platform. On average globally, Experience hosts earn $10,000 a year; our top-earning Experience host has a run rate of $800,000 per year. Experiences are succeeding because people want to travel around their passions and interests, from food to music to sports, and Airbnb offers this wide range of activities as an alternative to mass tourism.
The success of Experiences has led us to make significant new investments in this program to increase the number and type of Experiences that are available around the world, including opening a second office in Los Angeles dedicated to supporting this expansion. We will make even more aggressive investments in 2019 as we seek to scale the Experiences business and offer more diverse and unique experiences around the world.
2019 and Beyond
Airbnb will continue our work to build an end-to-end travel platform that will handle every part of your trip, with a heightened focus on investing in and creating new businesses that will power long-term growth. We will continue to provide additional updates in the weeks and months to come.