The popular hotel-alternative Airbnb lets users snag homey accommodations when they’re traveling or rent their apartments to out-of-towers. Turns out, a huge percentage of those renters are offering up their living spaces due to unemployment, according to The Wall Street Journal. In Airbnb’s biggest markets, like Paris, only one-third of hosts (those renting out their apartments for money) have full-time jobs. Airbnb is popular with young people in Europe, the WSJ says, where unemployment is high but tourism is robust. For this reason, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told WSJ that international expansion remains a big priority, and that its rolling out more offerings in Asia, including Shanghai and Seoul. The company also wants to expand by offering a more “end-to-end” experience. It plans to add services that will connect users with local chefs or cleaning services.
“People want things that are personalized,” Chesky said.
By connecting users with local merchants and other services, Airbnb would be building on its earlier efforts to create travel-planning guides for every neighborhood it works with. Eventually, these local networks would let Airbnb compete with other services like Yelp and OpenTable by recommending popular restaurants and attractions.
Finally, Chesky said that, despite its $2.5 billion valuation and lots of anticipation, the company isn’t pursuing for an IPO this year.
by Jillian D’Onfro
Source : http://www.businessinsider.com