Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky gives a 5-star rating to India market

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky gives a 5-star rating to India market

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky sees India rising to become one of the company’s key revenue generators with the country’s young and rapidly expanding middle class spending big on travel.

“The reason I am incredibly excited is, say in about 10 years from now it will be one of the world’s biggest markets for Airbnb,” Chesky, 35, cofounder of the alternative accommodations company, said in an interview to a daily.

Chesky decried the protectionist stance adopted by US President Donald Trump and his recent attempts to ban immigrants from specific nations.

“I think they are mostly a step backward for the world,” said Chesky. “Our problems today are primarily global in nature, the way to solve those problems is not country by country, but at a global level.”

Airbnb is one of the world’s most valued startups, estimated to be worth $31 billion, and is a leading player in the “sharing economy” along with ride-hailing application Uber.

Airbnb and several US technology companies such as Apple and Microsoft had filed a brief in February against the US travel restrictions, which temporarily barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries to enter US. Airbnb also offered free accommodation to those stuck due to the travel ban.

One of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Chesky also said that the global community must unite to deal with common problems from climate change to terrorism and the disruption caused by globalisation.

Chesky, who teamed up with Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia in 2008 to launch the San Francisco-based company, was on his maiden visit to India to launch a new service in the country, Trips.

It is designed to offer unique local experiences such as Samurai training near Tokyo and surfing in Cape Town. Airbnb has been present in India since 2012 and last year inked a strategic partnership with The Times Group, publisher of The Economic Times. In 2015, the company had appointed Amanpreet Bajaj, cofounder of electronics focused etailer LetsBuy, which was acquired by Flipkart, as country manager for India.

Currently India accounts for less than 1% of total 3 million listings on Airbnb. Inbound bookings to India grew by 187% while outbound bookings, which is the majority of business from India, is growing by 200%.

“We started by localising our product for India and growing quickly to where the (Indians) want to travel to. Second was making sure inbound was strong. Final is domestic — Indians (travelling) within India. That grew 350% last year, the fastest-growing (segment),” Chesky said.

Airbnb had earlier said that its guests spent an estimated $60 billion in its top 200 cities last year on both accommodations and daily expenses. The company has homes in 68,000 cities and 191countries.

The company expects alternative accommodations will be a minor part of its revenues in the future as it launches Trips and also explores a foray into aviation, which it regards as a bottleneck for growing the business.

“The long-term constraint to tourism is aviation and not daily spending, things to do or capacity of cities,” said Chesky. “With Airbnb, there is theoretically unlimited upside as there are more than a billion households in the world,” said the industrial designer who decided to launch his own company when he could not afford rented accommodation in 2007.

 

News Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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