The pandemic has opened the doors to telework and travel
Airbnb manager Brian Chesky plans to travel across the country in the next few months, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopping running the short-term rental platform.
The CEO believes remote worker travel will be more important than ever as the pandemic pushes employers to offer more flexible working arrangements. To prove that it’s possible to work from just about anywhere, Chesky plans to live and work from Airbnbs across the United States over the next few months, returning home to San Francisco between each one- to two-week trip.
“All you need is a laptop and someone’s internet at home and you can do your job. In fact, you can even run a nearly $100 billion business,” he said. he told USA TODAY.
Upcoming Airbnb Updates
Chesky’s first stop on his remote work tour was in Atlanta, where he stayed in a house owned by a host Who lives next door with her two young children. San Francisco street posters that the host’s father and uncle collected in the 1970s were wedged behind Brian during a video interview, one of“personal touches” that drew the CEO to the listing as he searchedplaces to stay.
►We have been nomads for almost a year:Here’s what I learned on long car trips
“I generally like homes that feel like part of a community,” he said. “Some Airbnbs feel a bit more lived in than others.”
Chesky suggests remote workers who want to travel through Airbnb look for listings with good Wi-Fi and look closely at reviews. The longer the better, he says.
“The better a reviewer a passionate person is, the longer they will leave reviews,” Chesky said. “So if you see a bunch of reviews and they’re like a sentence or two on Airbnb, even if they’re positive, clearly this property didn’t leave the same impression.”
The CEO plans to use his remote work time to find ways to improve the platform. Airbnb announced major updates in the last few months, and Chesky said “some pretty big updates” related to remote work will drop before the arrival of the summer travel season.
“A revolution in travel”
Before the pandemic, customers primarily viewed Airbnb as a way to find an apartment in a city to stay in for a few days, according to Chesky. That has changed over the past two years.
About 20% of nights booked between July and September were for 28 days or more. Half of the nights booked during the same period were for at least seven days, compared to 44% in 2019.
“We’re about to revolutionize travel,” Chesky said. “The world is going digital. The world is getting smaller. It’s getting more global. And I think that’s probably been the biggest change in everyday life.”
While the pandemic won’t last forever, Chesky thinks the remote work trend is here to stay with the “vast majority” of workers not returning to the office five days a week. He expects this to be particularly important for childless workers who are tied to a school system, but added that working remotely could open doors for families who want to travel for long periods during the summer.
The change is a boon for employees who want to travel more, but Chesky said it also makes sense from a business perspective: Why would a company limit its labor pool to only people who live near his office?
“I think ultimately people will want to compete for the best talent,” he said.
“I feel like I can be anywhere”
Chesky’s next step is still undecided. Towns with friends he’d like to visit top the list, but he doesn’t discount small towns and rural communities as options.
“I’m still figuring out where my next adventure is,” he said. “I think I’ll go to Nashville and then I think I’ll go to LA, I don’t know where next – maybe Miami.”
Chesky plans to post a social media poll asking for advice on what to do next.
“It’s a really fun adventure,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed of being able to live anywhere. … (Now,) as long as I’m in a reasonable time zone, I feel like I can be anywhere and I can be as effective here than at home. So my office is everywhere.”
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.