Online accommodation marketplace Airbnb could be moving into the aviation business following revelations by founder Brian Chesky that the company has considered launching its own airline as part of plans to become an all-around travel company.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Chesky said the company has “seriously considered a lot of things around aviation and we’ve spent a lot of time exploring different concepts”.
The primary goal is to turn the company into an “end-to-end trip business” and Chesky cited Amazon’s positioning as a one-stop shop for retail as the most similar model for its approach to being a “one-stop shop for travel”.
Airbnb is celebrating its 10th year this year and its growth has raised questions about how the sharing market could disrupt the traditional hospitality sector. A recent article by Forbes using data from German hotel reservation website HRS and the AirDNA site showed that Airbnb lodgings typically beat hotels on price in a number of major cities, including Tokyo and New York.
That said, a recent study cited by the Observer has suggested that the company’s disruption of the hotel industry has been overstated, with the company having had little tangible negative impact on hotels, particularly those catering to business travellers.
Meanwhile, according to the 2018 Future of Millennial Travel Report, fewer than one in four US travellers between the ages of 20 and 36 said that Airbnbs were their preferred type of lodging.
Chesky’s revelation that the company is looking to become an all-round travel company follows comments by Accorhotels CEO, Sebastien Bazin, last week that Airbnb was engaged in a search for new businesses to diversify away from its core business in order to solve its big dilemma of finding a way to an IPO.
“They raised an enormous amount of money with a very high valuation and they promised to do a big IPO of the company,” said Bazin. “What they didn’t see was that they have so much market share in the capital cities that all of a sudden mayors went against them, and each one of those mayors in cities like Barcelona, New York, Paris, each of them have a different legislation.”
According to Bazin, Airbnb’s diversification is a way for it to avoid legislative trouble.
Accorhotels purchased Airbnb competitor Onefinestay back in 2016.