Presently valued more than US$31 billion, it’s anything but difficult to hold Airbnb in highest of regards. All things considered, the trio that established Airbnb transformed the possibility of “shared living”. However, success was not easy and quick for the founders of Airbnb, Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk. So, let’s take an insight into the story of Airbnb to know how it all began, what led to success and how Airbnb keeps on growing with each passing day.
The Early Days – How Airbnb was Started?
The Airbnb founder story is one that of determination, persistence, fear and most of all the struggle. Let’s start from the beginning, it was late 2007 in San Francisco when Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky travelled to San Francisco in search of better opportunities. Initially they had met at the Rhode Island School of Design in New York. Both of them were struggling to pay rent for their apartment in San Francisco. They did not have any job and were experiencing difficulty paying their rent and were searching for ways to procure some additional money. They saw that all hotel bookings in the city were reserved, as the local San Francisco Design Conference pulled in a great deal of guests.
As developers themselves, they realized that the upcoming Design Conference was causing the rooms to be booked in large numbers. They saw the single mattress lying in their living room, and thus the initial idea for Airbed and Breakfast (presently known as Airbnb) was conceived. They purchased two other air mattresses and developed a website that offered lodging and food as an alternative option for travellers.
At the point when three guests appeared and paid US$80 per night, they understood that home sharing was more than solving the problem of accommodation — it united people and enabled strangers to become friends. They realized they were on to something that could have real significance for individuals everywhere throughout the world. They, at that point chose to target festivals and conferences across the America, endeavouring to persuade local homeowners to list their rooms so that tourists could book them while during their trip and live freely and in a comfortable way.
Challenges that Founders Faced Convincing People for the Idea
Nonetheless, the possibility and idea of normal people opening up their homes to outsiders still felt unfamiliar to majority of people as well as investors. It made people quite uncomfortable and at numerous occasions the founders were told that their idea lacked sanity and they were crazy. Nobody needed to be the first to experiment with a thought like Airbnb. Initially, no one was willing to be the first to experiment with the idea of Airbnb which really made things little challenging for Brian, Joe and Nathan.
Early Days and testing of the Airbnb Idea
To test the feasibility of their assumption, the founders assumed the responsibility of the seller. Chesky and Gebbia tried this in the simplest way that was possible. They made available air mattresses in their own living room, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi. Also, they promised to the potential guests of a novel networking experience with like-minded people belonging to diverse backgrounds.
Initially, the founders didn’t rent space or come up with new beds. Rather, they utilized their existing resources so as to test their business idea as fast as possible. Chesky and Gebbia lowered their expenses and thereby the risk which allowed them to form a testable product in a quick time. Post the testing period, they went on to capitalize on available resources and move forward.
Airbnb and Its First Funding
It’s January 2009 and the three founders are invited by the incubator to join its winter session for training for three months. In the meantime, Paul Graham at Y Combinator endeavours to convince investor Fred Wilson to put resources into Airbnb. Although, it was difficult for the founders to convince Paul, but over a period of time, he too chips in with the funding which provides the much-needed boost to the start-up going forward.
Airbnb finally starts taking off
Following visiting their users in the city of New York, Airbnb at long last was able to get some traction. The start-ups focus changed from shared spaces to a wide range of accommodation. And soon after, in the month of March 2009 Airbnb had some 2500 listings and near about 10,000 registered users on its platform.
As has been the case with successful start-ups, the rest is the history, the history of Airbnb. As per the recent data, Airbnb currently has more than 2 million listings in approximate 200 countries that comprises of almost 34,000 small or big cities. The hosts of Airbnb have hosted more than 40 million guests in all these years. As of now, the organization’s worth is an estimated 26 billion, including the recent round of funding from investors
How Airbnb has Managed to succeed in all these years
Getting the Localization Right
As a brand, from the very beginning Airbnb has attempted to present itself as a global citizen. Therefore, like any global citizen, Airbnb has ensured to reach out to newer languages to expand its accessibility. This basically highlights Airbnb’s business plan as they want to remain local and international at the same time. Today, Airbnb is available in almost 30 different languages, which enables it to reach users around the world. Also, managing 30 odd websites in different languages is no easy task from any stretch of imagination, but Airbnb manages to do it through smooth localization and smart engineering moves.
A platform designed to promote localization
Engineers at Airbnb have developed a customized, exceptionally advanced translation management tool that enables the organization to include new languages at its platform and update them effectively with the existing content. The tool comprises of some highly advanced features. At the point when new phrase is included to the site, the TMS consequently takes a screenshot and sends it to the experts of translation. Interpreters can right-tap on any phrase on the site and after that edit the it according to the context. What’s more, the translated phrase goes live on the site very in real-time which makes up for great user experience.
Translation led by the Crowd
It was pretty difficult for a young and growth focussed start-up like Airbnb to basically translate significant content in a quick time. So, in order to accelerate the translation, Airbnb have been utilizing a blend of crowdsourcing and in-house interpretation work. Initially in the localization procedure, the organization employs translators from the crowd itself, and uses its overall network of hosts and visitors to help with both interpretation and proofreading.
Translation sourced from the crowd is cost-effective, quick, and also quite handy for developing a sense of community among people. This sort of mechanisms often faces problems with regards to consistency and accuracy. And that is where, Airbnb’s in-house proficient language interpreters and localization experts come into the picture, inspecting the translations and ensuring everything fits the brand’s tone.