Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Airbnb works

When my wife and I were searching for a weekend getaway to host our family friends from Korea, we searched Priceline and Travelocity to find good last minute hotel deals.  Because there were two families traveling, we had to look for suite with two rooms.  We quickly realized that there wasn't a site where we could search suite with multiple rooms.

That's when I suggested that we tried Airbnb.  We set our location, price range and date range, and hit search.  A few moments later we were able to find several cabins that matched our search criteria.  After a couple of email exchanges with one of the owners, and I must say that it worked out very well.

We were able to our latest minute trip out to Lake Tahoe, and had fun time getting away for the weekend.  Airbnb works.

Source: http://images.fastcompany.com
Airbnb is a Y Combinator graduate.  Paul Graham shared interesting behind the scene story about how he tried to convince Fred Wilson to invest when they were just getting started with their air mattress rental on subscribers' living room.  He shared email exchanges with Wilson on his blog post, and Wilson also shared how he missed the big opportunity that came knocking on his door.

I also thought Airbnb was only for cash strapped college students looking for some place to crash in the city.  But I've been proven wrong.  As Graham talked about in his blog post, there is continuum of rental market starting from renting out one room out of their house to a week-long rental of getaway mansion.  Somewhere in the continuum I can see small hotels advertising their rooms on Airbnb to vie for traveler's attention.

I think most start-ups are a couple of pivots away from finding that great market.  

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