Airbnb: Growing Your Business through Creativity

Airbnb an accommodation listing site that features a business model where the company partners with property owners who will list their property on Airbnb website. The  property owners will also serve as hosts for the guests. Starting in their apartment in their San Francisco living room, the company saw rapid growth through ingenuity and creativity. Learn about their story as told by founder Joe Gebbia:


Here are our takeaways from this wonderful success story:

They created a business out of a need:

A design conference and lack of available hotel rooms paved the way for the accommodation listing site. The lack of accommodation during big events was always present. Airbnb became the solution to this problem. Founders Joe and Brian decided to rent out extra space in their apartment, putting out air beds and serving breakfast for their first guests.

Creativity and moment marketing:

The Airbnb team thought of ways on how they can add more value to their guests. During the 2008 election, they started giving out “limited-edition” repacked cereals featuring the faces of the 2008 Presidential candidates and the result was $ 20000, a lot of publicity, entry to startup incubator program, and a spike in website activity. It was a brilliant move taking advantage of the elections.


Founder Joe Gebbia shared how the founding team documented all their crazy ideas in personal journals. He suggests keeping idea journals. The company achieved growth through unconventional means through the ideas of its founders.

Growth opportunities:

Following their success in 2008, the Airbnb team poured focus in growth. The founders themselves became users of Airbnb, meeting the customers face-to-face and in turn, the gained valuable feedback. The starup also decided to expand their market place. Their accommodation offering moved beyond rooms or houses. Unconventional accommodations like tree houses and yachts made its way to their website.

Connections with people and culture

Airbnb is not just an alternative to expensive hotel rooms. Staying in places owned by local residents of certain places gives travelers a closer and more genuine look to the place’s culture. Airbnb also allowed their guests to create real life connections with the residents.

It’s mind blowing how creative solutions become billion dollar businesses. Airbnb was just an idea of guys needing money to pay their rent. It’s proof that creativity will definitely take you to different heights.


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