Business

Airbnb almost got into the car-sharing business three years ago

Airbnb wants to own your entire travel experience, from your ride to the airport to where you lay your head.

“When we started, Airbnb was about the accommodation; now we think of Airbnb as the entire trip,” Airbnb product director Joe Zadeh told VentureBeat.

Zadeh went on to explain how Airbnb created a storyboard of the entire trip experience. “We want to design every part of that experience,” Zadeh said. “One thing we’ve been piloting is cleaning services in New York and LA.”

“A couple of years ago — like three years ago,” said Zadeh, “we sat around and asked ‘what’s next?’ We had this moment, and we thought about car-sharing. We have this platform that can power the sharing economy, is that what we should do next?”

Lucky for Airbnb, the company decided against getting into the ridesharing game. “We realized that wasn’t the right focus area for us. We thought it would be better to think about problems like airport pickup. [We offer tools like] the mobile app where you have the cached itinerary if you don’t have data … that’s just the very tip of the iceberg.”

Airbnb is already busy battling city regulators on both U.S. coasts. If it entered into Uber’s territory, the firm would likely drown in an ocean of lawsuits. Uber currently faces 13 active lawsuits in the U.S.

Airbnb’s ambition to own the entire travel experience is hardly realized as of yet. Although the firm just debuted last-minute booking tools in San Francisco and Los Angeles, airport rides and even flight booking services appear to be distant goals at best.

More information:

Founded in August 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique spaces around the world online or from an iPhone device. Whether the available space is a ca... read more »

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