Airbnb‘s founder and CEO Brian Chesky has told the advertising industry’s mega-event in Cannes that the business is “financially secure” and that an API is a possibility.
The official Cannes Lions 2016 official daily refers to his keynote speech yesterday, in which he said:
“Getting a company like Airbnb off the ground was incredibly tough. So much so that at one point we were so dangerously low on funding that we started selling breakfast cereals. The truth is that it took ten years to make the business genuinely financially secure.”
Elsewhere, he was also featured in a short interview by Cannes Lions TV.
There are some interesting operational asides in other interviews. In an interview with AdWeek he responds to some direct questions about an Airbnb API, albeit in a media-trained non-committal way.
When asked if an API was part of Airbnb’s future, he replies “I think so.”
In order to realise the move from being an accommodation marketplace to an end-to-end trip platform, “partnerships” with other travel suppliers such as airlines need to be in place he said, (although Chesky caveated this by saying there is nothing tangible to announce).
The recent launch of City Hosts – private tours for Airbnb guests – and its ongoing attempts to formalise its relationship with the tours and activities sector, are a sign that the business is evolving beyond accommodation. Recent upgrades to its business travel product shows that it is not only interested in leisure travel.
An API which allows airlines to create “flight + Airbnb” packages, or which allows OTAs to integrate it into their overall accommodation platform, or which allows nifty startups and travel tech behemoths alike to get creative, would take the disruptive elements of Airbnb to a whole new level.