I was rather surprised that the media have not made more of this story - that Airbnb plans to add not just "trips" but also flights and other package options to its proposition.
Airbnb has been a genuine "disruptor" in the travel industry. It's unique accommodation offering has opened up new markets and encouraged people to travel who may not have done so otherwise. It has been a ubiquitous demand generator.
The "trips" elements seems to make sense, but adding flights makes it feel like an traditional OTA and pitches it up against the might of Expedia. Will there be something innovative about the way that they will offer flights? I certainly hope so.
Arguably the world's biggest and most successful online accommodation aggregator is Booking.com, and whilst they have diversified by acquiring a flight meta search business (Kayak), a restaurant booking engine (Opentable), and a car rental aggregator (Rentalcars.com), it has resisted so far in amalgamating these businesses as a one-stop-shop OTA.
Airbnb has always lead and never followed the crowd. It will be interesting to see how this new intention develops.
Airbnb is moving beyond accommodation for the first time by adding a ‘Trips’ element for travellers. It also signaled its intention to become a full-service travel company by adding other travel products like flights, restaurant bookings and car hire. The San Francisco-based internet giant made the announcement, which will see it compete head on with the giants of the online travel sector like Expedia, at this week’s Phocuswright conference in Los Angeles. Already valued at $30 billion, Airbnb described the news as the biggest in is eight year history, and confirmed it was looking to complete an IPO of shares “as soon as possible”. Trips covers three key areas – experiences, places and homes – with flights and services to be added in the future.