When you go on vacation, don’t you want to stay in heart of the area you’re visiting? Don’t you want to be in a place the locals love, that’s also walking distance from main attractions? Don’t you want to avoid expensive hotels and have more privacy? Now what if I told you you could do all that, but you’d have to stay in a stranger’s home? If that made you have some second thoughts, then you know the main issue Airbnb faced when they first launched in 2008. People were initially hesitant about the idea of renting from a stranger. Airbnb is a service that allows “hosts” to list their properties online for people to come vacation in. They have followed the Uber model in that they don’t own many assets, which saves them a lot of money and hassle. They are now seen as a less expensive alternative to hotels They are now in 190 countries around the globe. They have 150 million users and 640,000 hosts worldwide. How did this company overcome the doubts that people had about the business model and become the success they are today?
Their key to success is “glocalization.” This department within the company makes their website accessible around the globe as well as provides a spot for people to share their stories. Airbnb has built their success by being able to tap into the local markets. Most people who are looking to stay in an Airbnb are looking to get more of a taste of the local flavor versus staying in hotel that might be a little outside the hustle and bustle of the city. This has been their differentiating point. In addition to offering their place to rent, hosts also provide a guide book with their listing. In this guidebook, they list at least three places to eat or locations to visit. Of course, you can purchase a regular guidebook from Amazon, but this small version can give you an even better taste of your destination. Much like other business, “going local” is paying off for Airbnb. It is ironic that for a global brand, they are focusing on the local communities. However, for their business model, it is the right move. If they did not have this sense of localization, people may still have the concerns about staying in a stranger’s home. With this model, they allow the renters a sense of belonging to their global community.