Airbnb must add millions of new hosts to accommodate guests as travel picks up again after the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Brian Chesky told CNBC.
“We will need millions more hosts to meet demand in the years to come,” Chesky said in an interview that aired on CNBC’s TechCheck on Friday. The home sharing platform now has 4 million hosts.
“I think we are likely to have a high cost problem where there are likely to be more guests coming to Airbnb than we are going to host because … we think there will be a travel recreation that is unlike anything what we’ve ever seen, “said Chesky. “We’re working hard to get more hosts on the platform.”
The travel industry is booming as more Americans get vaccinated and government restrictions ease. But for Airbnb, which relies on people opening their homes to guests, the company needs to increase the number of its hosts instead of building more properties or adding flights to meet demand.
It’s a similar problem to other gig economy companies like Uber, which recently announced a $ 250 million incentive to bring more drivers to their platform.
“As vaccination rates rise in the US, we are finding that consumer demand for mobility is recovering faster than driver availability, and consumer demand for delivery continues to exceed courier availability,” Uber said in a press release with Securities and Exchange Commission.
Chesky said Airbnb is unlikely to offer “a lot of incentives” to bring new hosts on board as there is already a huge demand for service.
“I think we just have to keep telling our story about Airbnb and the benefits of hosting. And we’re seeing a lot of interest,” he said.
As part of this, Chesky said, the company launched its “Enabled by Hosts” advertising campaign. The company ran a series of ads with photos of Airbnb guests who live in homes around the world to create a sense of nostalgia.
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