Airbnb started in 2008 and got its name when its three founders rented out air mattresses on the floor of their San Francisco apartment during a conference.

Since then, the company has come a long way.

It’s been disrupting the travel industry by understanding, and moving with, shifts in consumer behaviour.

Despite the fact my family have booked our last seven holidays with Airbnb, I still think it is one of the internet’s best kept secrets.

Here’s how Airbnb is shaping the future of the travel industry:

It’s aspirational

Remember the saying, there is no place like home?

The rise in popularity of boutique hotels proved that there was a growing segment of travellers who wanted a more varied choice of accommodation; an experience characterised with personalised touches and the chance to be immersed in the local culture.

Essentially, Airbnb is a boutique hotel on steroids.

With a homepage headline of “live there”, Airbnb offers the chance to stay in (sorry live in) aspirational, unique homes.

The whole idea is that staying with Airbnb is more than just a holiday, you get to experience new places just like the locals do, which appeals to people who don’t like to see themselves as normal tourists.

Airbnb: How its customer experience is revolutionising the travel industry

Offering some really unique properties for rent, in some of the world’s most spectacular locations, you’d expect that when you first land on the Airbnb website your emotions will be stirred.

Whether it be excitement, amazement or belonging, they capture these emotions with carefully chosen imagery and background videos.

Yes, there is the search facility layered on top, but first and foremost it has focused on connecting with visitors on a more personable level than any travel agency website I have been on.

I was recently in one of my local travel agents to exchange some money.

While scanning over the shelves of brochures, I couldn’t help but wonder what the cover of an Airbnb holiday brochure would look like.

It’s built on pure trust

The only part of the whole customer experience that Airbnb has full control over is the website.

This means that the brand has to place complete trust and faith in the people from around the world who choose to rent their properties on the platform.

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