Airbnb was found in August 2008 in San Francisco, where everyday people can look for unique accommodations around the world. Whether it’s an apartment for the night, or even a gorgeous villa by the beach for an entire month, Airbnb gives travelers the chance to discover unique travel experiences in over 33,000 cities and 192 countries.
Airbnb is more than just a platform for people to host travelers or book accommodation. It aims to connect guests and hosts together, whereby hosts can rent out the extra space they have, travelers looking for a unique stay in a foreign land.
Apart from being extremely user-friendly, Airbnb also features a review system where users who have actually booked or hosted with each other, are allowed to leave a review or testimonial, giving site visitors a chance to read authentic reviews.
Airbnb recently announced its continuing expansion into Southeast Asia with the beginning of focused efforts in Malaysia. As the company has seen over a 500% growth year-over-year in Malaysia in 2012, Airbnb will focus on engaging with its rapidly-growing community in Kuala Lumpur and throughout Malaysia.
Nathan Blecharczyk (far left), Brian Chesky (middle), and Joe Gebbia. (Image)
Airbnb was found by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbie and Nate Blecharczyk, to connect hosts and guests together from different parts of the world. Through Airbnb, hosts and guests alike can connect, communicate, and even go through a transaction process securely just through the website.
Co-found and Chief Technology Office Nathan Blecharczyk, said. “Airbnb is about creating unique, memorable experiences, and we’re seeing a huge increase in demand in Malaysia and across Asia”. He added, “Malaysia is a growing travel destination, and Malaysian people are also travelling abroad at increasing rates so we believe it will be a crucial market for us as we continue to grow.”
Here are some details on the growth of Airbnb in Malaysia:
– Guests have come from 78 different countries around the world to travel in Malaysia on Airbnb.
– The number of guest nights booked on Airbnb in Malaysia has increased 547% in 2012 alone.
– The number of Airbnb guest nights booked on Airbnb in Malaysia has increased 350% in 2012, with the most popular destinations being Hong Kong, Paris, New York, Amsterdam, Rome, Seoul, Bali, Singapore, London and Tokyo.
– Airbnb has over 780 listings in Malaysia, including 430 in Kuala Lumpur with an increase of 108% in 2012.
Ole Ruch (Image)
To help with the growth in Malaysia, Airbnb has tabbed Ole Ruch as Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Airbnb. The team, focused on Malaysia will work to better support hosts and guests in the market, assisting in managing listings, bookings, and educating users about the Airbnb process. We spoke to Ole to elaborate a little more about Airbnb and its features that will drive the Malaysian market.
Q. How did the idea of Airbnb come about?
The company started in 2008, but the idea started in 2007. Two of the three co-founders were living together but couldn’t pay rent. And they thought ‘why not invite people in and monetize our space’. So, there was a demand for space and people came in to stay with them, so they decided to open up the floor to more people and build the platform and facilities.
Q. How would you describe Airbnb to someone who hasn’t tried it to before?
I actually live on Airbnb, so I don’t actually have my own place. I move city-to-city and stay with hosts. So, I’m like a nomad. I still go through the process of sending requests and waiting for their approval on Airbnb too. With Airbnb, it makes your travel experience more memorable, and it’ll give you a more local and unique touch with the place, the culture and the people you meet.
Q. What are some of the unique features of Airbnb?
Well, the most important aspect is payment, and we are lucky to give hosts and guests a smooth and secure payment transaction with Paypal. We actually hold the guest payments up to 24 hours after check-in just to make sure they’re satisfied with their accommodation, and to uphold costs’ cancellation policies before the payment is processed. Other than that, we also have our own special smartphone apps available for Android and iPhone. The Airbnb iPhone app was also named iTunes’ Travel App of the Year, too.
For hosts, we offer free professional photography. So, if you plan on hosting and want to feature your place in a way to welcome guests, we have professional photographers who will take these photos for you for free, and our troop of photographers are available all around the world.
Airbnb recently celebrated 10 million nights booked, and on any given night, over 50,000 guests are staying at Airbnb accommodations around the world. For more information or to inspire your next travel destination, visit www.airbnb.com.my