Air comes from the word air mattress, as used in Airbnb to mean Air Bed and Breakfast. The term came from the company’s origin, where the founders hosted a guest on air mattresses in the living room to help them pay their rent. Investors who later saw the potential of the idea resorted to using Airbnb as a short form for the services.
To understand what the word air in Airbnb stands for, we have to look at how the name came by. The founders of Airbnb, Joe Gebbia, and Brian Chesky, back in 2007, decided to rent out a room in their apartment to make a few coins using an air mattress. They decided to call their small venture “air” bed and breakfast, which was about the air mattress the guests would sleep on.
Guests enjoyed their service and requested if they could get breakfast and city tours after they had spent the night. Joe and Brian provided. With time the two founders decided to spread the idea to different apartments. Nathan Blecharcyk later joined the two founders, and together they developed a website for short-term rentals.
An investor named Paul Graham saw the potential in the air bed and breakfast idea. Paul invited the three founders to join him, and in 2009, the business changed its name to Airbnb. It took off and became the big and successful venture we have all known.
Air bed and breakfast was hands-on with the renting and doing all the work to facilitate guests getting the apartments and breakfast. Later, Airbnb changed the idea and now facilitates the transaction between the guests and the hosts and does not own or manage any of the apartments or properties used.
How does Airbnb make money?
Airbnb is more hands-off than when Joe and Brian started running it. Even with the reduced functions, it still makes money via commission. It takes 3% from the host and between 6% and 12% fee from the host on any successful booking goes to the company. This is a lot of money considering Airbnb has over seven million listings and over 150 million users, with six checking into listed properties every second.
How does Airbnb work?
Airbnb revolutionized hospitality by creating a platform for homeowners to make extra money in their homes. The website makes it easy for hosts and guests to find each other and link. The host advertises their rental to millions of people on the platform. All the transactions are handled on the platform by both the host and the guest.
How do you make a booking as a guest?
Below are steps to follow to make a booking on Airbnb:
Step 1: Open the online website.
Open the Airbnb website and create an account if you do not have one. Enter the required personal details to have a verified account.
Step 2: Use filters to identify your property of interest
Using the search filter provided, search for the location you want and the date you will be there. The website will present you with available properties, and you can look for the one that best suits you.
Step 3: Reserve or book the property
Once you find a property that satisfies your needs and requirement, you can go ahead and make a booking or reserve it until you are ready to book it.
Step 4: Acceptance and payment
After booking, wait for the host to accept your offer. You will then agree with the host on payment and finalize the booking.
How to use Airbnb as a host
Becoming a host on Airbnb is an easy task; all you have to do is list your property on the website for free. After you have listed the accommodation and decided on the price, you can start hosting guests.
However, there are a few things that you should consider before going into the business. These include:
- Have a good understanding of rental taxes and any other requirements by the state you live in.
- Have realistic expectations to avoid frustration. Calculate your finances and make sure the expenses do not outweigh the profits.
- Get insurance for your property.
- Notify your neighbors about the business. Notifying neighbors prepares them mentally for any inconvenience arising from your business.
- Come up with house rules to help better manage your guests and the activities they can do when in your house.
- Have the appropriate equipment needed and all the required amenities to facilitate the accommodation of guests.
Does Airbnb have competitors?
Airbnb might be well known and profitable, but they do have competition from other companies which were there before and others that have just come up.
Companies like VRBO, Agoda, HomeToGo, TravelStaytion, and many other companies are in the same line as Airbnb. Some companies offer solutions to problems Airbnb has not been able to fix, and others are similar to Airbnb.
What are the pros and cons of Airbnb?
Pros of Airbnb
- Variety. Airbnb offers more than one type of accommodation, and therefore, they never lack something for everybody. You can access single rooms, houses, castles, shared spaces, and even houseboats.
- Free for hosts. The website allows its hosts to list their properties without any charge; they are only charged upon successful booking on their property.
- The host determines rental prices. Airbnb does not control the pricing of the properties; the owner decides this for themselves.
- Airbnb offers more than just bed and breakfast services. The hosts can add other ideas to make their property more likable to guests. Some ideas like sightseeing, cooking classes, and other fun things available in the local area can be listed on the properties page.
- Guest and host protection from fraudsters. Airbnb holds the payments for 24 hours after the booking is made. It is forwarded to the host, later on to protect the users against fraudsters.
Cons of Airbnb
- Property damage. As the host, property damage is a risk you have to acknowledge and e aware of. Among the many risks that could happen, property damage is the most common. Airbnb does have some protection programs, but they do not cover every kind of property damage.
- Additional fees. Airbnb charges commissions on both the guest and the host per booking, increasing the overall price.
- The venture is illegal in some areas. Local zoning in some areas does not allow homeowners to run Airbnb properties. As the host, you have to make sure that you are in an area that permits it to avoid breaking the law.
What are the positive and negative impacts of Airbnb?
There are many takes on the rise of Airbnb in society, both positive and negative.
Positive impacts of Airbnb
- It encourages tourism in the local areas.
In many areas, you will find Airbnb accommodations around areas that are hot spots for tourists. Better accommodation in the local area means longer and more frequent visits by tourists. Any small purchases or big purchases made in the region help improve the economy of that region.
- Help travelers save money.
Airbnbs do not charge the same as big hotels. Small-time tourists will feel more comfortable and can afford to pay the rent on most Airbnb and save some money. Airbnbs have the option to bargain and reduce the prices for longer stays, but hotels do not easily change their prices regardless of the length of stay.
- Airbnbs promote and teach local community activities to visitors.
Since the Airbnb accommodations are located in the local areas, it is easier for the local community to showcase their culture. Tourists get to learn and experience cultures they could not have experienced if they rented a hotel.
- They bring income to people who need it.
Like Brian and Joe, the founders of Airbnb, if you need to make some extra cash, Airbnb will help you do this in the comfort of your home.
Negative impacts of Airbnb
- Airbnb destruct the cost of housing in the local areas
When landlords learn that the local houses are used as Airbnbs, they raise the rent to frustrate the hosts or try to earn a little more money from them.
Since property increases its price drastically in listed regions, the local people start getting pushed out since the cost of living will go up, making it unaffordable to many.
- The local government finds it hard to collect taxes from Airbnb accommodations.
Unlike hotels, Airbnb accommodations do not need a business certificate to operate. Collecting tax from Airbnbs becomes hard because it is challenging to find them all.
- Local communities might be against Airbnbs
Some communities do not allow people to run Airbnb businesses in or around their surroundings. Some states have outlawed Airbnbs.
- Security and privacy
On different platforms, you can almost always find complaints about a property without the right safety measures. Complaints about unofficial cameras installed in the ventilation or other equipment have also been there.
Even though all these complaints do not reflect on Airbnb as a whole, serious concerns need to be addressed.
The name Airbnb encompasses all that the business is about and how it all started; the air mattress and the breakfast offered by the host. Since its introduction to the world, it has grown into a big company that has helped many people make money within their properties.