Airbnb wants smart home partnerships with Apple, Amazon and Google – Skift
Almost a year and a half since Airbnb had to end its plans to debut flights due to the Covid crisis, CFO Dave Stephensen said the company saw revenue opportunities beyond booking stays in potential smart home partnerships with Google, Amazon and Apple.
Speaking at a Nasdaq investor conference Thursday, Stephensen said he welcomes the competition from the smart home trio and sees an opportunity to work with them on home technology automation. He said Airbnb was lagging behind in this area and was “under-penetrated”.
“I’m actually very optimistic about the long term,” he said – without elaborating – on how Airbnb might work with hosts and these potential partners on smart home technology.
From Nest to Alexa, Google, Amazon, and Apple offer a variety of smart home solutions.
He said smart home technology, along with keyless entry, could be long-term revenue drivers for Airbnb.
Oddly, while talking about smart homes, Stephenson also touched on opportunities for Airbnb to facilitate keyless entry into homes without elaboration. The statement came a day after Bloomberg reported that Airbnb paid $ 7 million to silence an Australian woman who was raped at a Manhattan Airbnb in 2015.
The rapist, who was not another customer, had a set of keys for this Airbnb. The host regularly left the keys to the popular Airbnb at a local bodega, and customers could get them there without any ID required.
Airbnb doesn’t really have a policy on how hosts and guests should redeem keys, and the process varies wildly. It is questionable whether keyless entry, the practicality and legality of which varies widely around the world, would improve the security of guests and hosts.
Of course, during the Nasdaq conference, Jeffries’ interviewer did not bring up the Bloomberg story, although the incident and how Airbnb is dealing with these brand and guest calamities is highly relevant. for Airbnb operations.
Stephensen raised the possibility of Airbnb possibly returning to launching flights, an initiative that was set to debut before Covid forced it into hibernation.
He said Airbnb was focusing on recruiting individual hosts and would not be launching flights in the immediate future. However, if Airbnb ultimately decided to launch flights, then Airbnb would do so in a unique and company-specific way, and not offer flights in a “generic” way that one might typically find elsewhere.
Not a typical online travel agency
While Booking Holdings and Expedia Group, as well as Marriott and Hilton, have multiple brands, Stephensen Airbnb finds it more efficient to operate a single brand globally.
He said Airbnb didn’t have to waste money marketing sub-brands. “We have a brand to nurture – Airbnb,” Stephensen said.
He added that long-term stays also differentiate Airbnb from the competition. He claimed that Airbnb averaged about 4.5 nights per booking, which would be longer than a freezing booking typical of online travel age, he said.