In 2007, a cash-strapped Brian Chesky came up with a shrewd way to pay his $1,200 San Francisco apartment rent. He would offer “Air bed and breakfast”, which consisted of three airbeds, breakfast, WiFi and a desk to work, to attendees of the Industrial Design Conference, who needed a place to crash over the weekend.
After an initial period of uncertainty, in which the founders sold Barack Obama and John McCain cereal to sustain the business (seriously), the company received $20,000 in seed funding from Y Combinator and Sequoia Capital. The next year, it ran a Series A round which generated $7.2 million for the startup.
Things moved quickly from there, in May 2011 Airbnb acquired Accoleo, a German clone of the website and launched in Europe. International expansion continued at a rapid pace, reaching South America, Asia and Australia by the end of 2012.
As it expanded, Airbnb has faced persistent opposition from several major cities, due to a perceived increase in the cost of rent for locals. Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Venice and San Francisco, amongst others, have enacted regulations specifically targeted at the short-term rental market Airbnb popularized.
In 2016, Airbnb expanded its service to include experiences, in which a host could offer tours or tickets to events through the app. The company planned to launch an airline, although with the coronavirus pandemic those plans have been delayed indefinitely.
For the past three years, Airbnb has consolidated its position in the market. It acquired Luxury Retreats in 2017 for $200 million, followed by a $400 million acquisition of HotelTonight in 2019. Even with these acquisitions, it is still considered a rather “light” asset company in comparison to its main rivals, Expedia and Bookings.com.
Airbnb has been one of the hardest hit platforms by the COVID-19. At the pandemic peak, new bookings were down 85 percent, although app usage has gradually increased as countries have relaxed travel restrictions.
Many Airbnb hosts in major cities switched to long-term rentals as the short-term market collapsed in March, as a way to maintain a steady (if lower) income. To keep hosts on the platform, Airbnb recently launched monthly stays, similar to a normal rental service, but without the usual yearly rental agreement.
Airbnb planned to IPO in early 2020, but with the pandemic it delayed its public launch until December 2020.
We’ve collected data and statistics on Airbnb’s users, bookings, revenue and valuation throughout the years below. Read on to find out more.
Airbnb key statistics
- Airbnb generated $3.4 billion in revenue in 2020, a 30 percent loss year-on-year due to the coronavirus pandemic
- Airbnb has 150 million users, though that number has not been updated since 2018
- In 2020, 193 million bookings were made on Airbnb, a 41 percent contraction on the 272 million in 2019
- There are over seven million listings on Airbnb, run by four million hosts
|Launch date||11 August 2008|
|HQ||San Francisco, California|
|People||Brian Chesky (CEO), Joe Gebbia (chief product officer), Nathan Blecharczyk (chief strategy officer)|
Airbnb annual revenue
Sources: Airbnb, Bloomberg, CB Insights, Fortune
Sources: RJMetrics, Skift, The Guardian
Note: Airbnb has not updated its active users since 2018. We suspect it has not passed 200 million
Sources: TechCrunch, Airbnb
|Rivals||Subsidiaries and other websites|
|Expedia Group||Expedia.com, trivago, HomeAway, Vrbo, Hotels.com|
|Tripadvisor||FlipKey, Housetrip, Viator|
|Booking Holdings||Bookings.com, Priceline, Agoda, Kayak|
Airbnb vs competitors: revenue
Note: Revenue for 2019. Amount in $bn
How many people have stayed in Airbnb homes?
Over half a billion guests have stayed in an Airbnb home, earning the hosts $65 billion
How many countries is Airbnb active in?
Airbnb is active in over 200 countries and 81,000 cities
What are the most popular cities for Airbnb?
Tokyo, Paris, Osaka, New York City and London are the most popular cities
How many experiences are available on Airbnb?
Over 50,000 experiences are available, including DNA necklace crafting, learning how to eat fire and a neural enhancement experience
What generation uses Airbnb the most?
60% of Airbnb’s userbase are millennials