How did Airbnb managed to build the initial database?

8 replies
Hi,

In one of the interviews Airbnb founder Brian Chesky was explaining the big problem during the early days of Airbnb where it was difficult to build a site like Airbnb where the travellers won't visit a site where there are very few houses hosted and on the other hand the hosts will not be interested to list their properties on a site where very few visitors are visiting. This was like a chicken and egg situation at that time and it was really difficult to create a balanced environment where both the travellers and the hosts will be satisfied to use the site services as it intended to be.

However he did not really explain how he solved this equation problem and managed to pull it over. Although we can infer that he may have done big advertisement campaigns to lure both sides of the user groups, i would like to know if there is any other tricks he may have employed to ensure a balanced growth for the site?
#airbnb #build #database #initial #managed
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Stanley
    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-a...val-in-2008-19

    Thought this BI article was pretty good for this Q. Seems Chesky and got into Y Combinator, where they met Paul Graham and company and started doing things like professionally photographing their NY host's apartments, literally living in AirBnb's for months on end, and scrapping the name "air bed and breakfast." They eventually raised $600K from Sequoia, surpassed 1M nights booked, and then "broke out" at SXSW with best new mobile app in 2011
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    • Profile picture of the author erptraining9
      Thanks but how could just better photography do the trick? I believe the problems they faced are even more challenging than just related to good photography.

      I believe they did something else to break through the challenge than just replacing the photos with better ones. Perhaps they want to keep it as their trade secret, not to reveal it to anyone who could follow the samething and eventually challenging them.
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      • Profile picture of the author Matthew Stanley
        I certainly didn't mean to imply better photography was the sole reason for their success; rather that it was one of the many tactics / strategic changes they deployed over a years-long tinkering and learning process (which I'm sure Paul Graham and Y Combinator helped a great deal with) that helped them fully capitalize on the opportunity they'd "discovered".

        I think it's also not a function of a hidden secret or marketing tactic or the like that they've guarded over the years. Good technological timing likely played as big a role as anything else. Ben Thompson and other writers have chronicled this very well: With the advent of the Internet and Mobile in particular (which took mainstream scale in the middle part of the 2010s)- we went from a vision of apps that let you book last minute hotels to apps that made every house in every city in the world a potential place to stay. AirBnb, along with other sharing economy companies like Uber, helped usher in what Thompson calls the "commodification of trust". The implication of Airbnb building a platform of trust was not that a homestay was now more trustworthy than a hotel, but rather that the trust advantage of a hotel was now neutralized, allowing homestays to compete on new vectors, including convenience, cost, and environmental factors ...

        All of which is to say, it was a truly disruptive/huge idea that required - or was at least greatly amplified by - major secular technological behavioral changes that were/are unique to the Mobile Internet era.
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        • Originally Posted by Matthew Stanley View Post

          The implication of Airbnb building a platform of trust was not that a homestay was now more trustworthy than a hotel, but rather that the trust advantage of a hotel was now neutralized, allowing homestays to compete on new vectors, including convenience, cost, and environmental factors ... .
          I agree. I think what also contributed to this is how the hotel industry perceives and presents value, especially for budget travelers.

          In the past, if you're budget traveler, you have to settle for a budget hotel. Most budget hotels are marketed on their price point, not on their value. Because of that. the experience of staying in most budget hotels just screams "compromise", not value for money.

          As a customer in these hotels, I felt like they weren't giving me the best that they can offer. They're just giving me what they think I'm worth.

          AirBnB, on the other hand, focused on value and I think that helped them tremendously.
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    • Profile picture of the author Robert Carr
      It's a great article. I don't know how I've missed it. Thanks for sharing it here. Read about iPhone parental controls later.
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  • Profile picture of the author Medon
    Originally Posted by erptraining9 View Post

    Hi,

    In one of the interviews Airbnb founder Brian Chesky was explaining the big problem during the early days of Airbnb where it was difficult to build a site like Airbnb where the travellers won't visit a site where there are very few houses hosted and on the other hand the hosts will not be interested to list their properties on a site where very few visitors are visiting. This was like a chicken and egg situation at that time and it was really difficult to create a balanced environment where both the travellers and the hosts will be satisfied to use the site services as it intended to be.

    However he did not really explain how he solved this equation problem and managed to pull it over. Although we can infer that he may have done big advertisement campaigns to lure both sides of the user groups, i would like to know if there is any other tricks he may have employed to ensure a balanced growth for the site?
    Just advertising and convincing the public that his idea could help solve a problem
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  • Profile picture of the author hsvdm
    Banned
    It uses Cloud storage - Amazon S3, EBS. To store user data including millions of user pictures, Amazon resorts to Amazon services.
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  • Profile picture of the author DURABLEOILCOM
    Air BnB started their empire utilizing free marketing on Craigslist.
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