Going After Fewer, But Bigger Goals: Airbnb's Expansion Strategy
BY Laura Montini
At the World Economic Forum, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company will focus on larger projects this year.
"When you build a product, you build the minimum product that you need and then you get feedback," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said last year in an interview about the company's product strategy.
Now, more than five years after it was founded, Chesky said today that Airbnb will expand beyond home and room rentals to offer full-service, local recommendations (think Yelp), according to the Wall Street Journal. The CEO also revealed a bit about how he plans to get the company to meet these goals.
Chesky said the plan is to create comprehensive travel planning guides for each community it currently serves with rental listings. Apparently, efforts to create the guides have been underway since 2012. Guess that makes sense consideringAirbnb lists accommodations in 33,000 cities and 192 countries, according to the company's website.
This means, eventually, Airbnb could compete with Yelp, OpenTable and other recommendation sites as it amasses a large collection of crowdsourced suggestions for nearby restaurants and services. For example, a user could look for, say, a local dry cleaners while staying at an Airbnb.
Chesky also provided some insight as to how the company plans to execute the forthcoming projects internally. He said this year Airbnb will be focused on fewer but bigger things. The company will have a meeting where the year's plan will be laid out on one sheet of paper.
"Everything on the page has an owner, an objective and a target date. We must answer the question: 'How will we know we didn't do it?'" Chesky said.
In other news: To put recent speculation to rest, Chesky said the company -- which has raised $326 million to date, according to CrunchBase -- will not go public in 2014.
LAURA MONTINI is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco. @lmmontini