Airbnb In Africa: Hopes To Expand, Make Entrepreneurs

Airbnb In Africa: Hopes To Expand, Make Entrepreneurs

Brian Chesky, CEO and founder of lodgings-rental website Airbnb, said he attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya to meet African entrepreneurs and explore expansion on the continent, BizTechAfrica reports.

Africa represents a huge opportunity for the company, which more than doubled listings in Africa in the last year, according to the report.

Airbnb describes itself as a community marketplace where guests can book accommodation from private hosts. The website connects people who have space to spare — anything from a sofa or shared room to a private island and everything in between — with those who are looking for a place to stay. Through their experiences on Airbnb, guests and hosts connect with people from all over the globe.

Some entrepreneurs have built empires using Airbnb, such as Alexander Van Dijl, who needed an alternative source of money while he was writing a book. He figured out he could earn substantial money renting out his home and living elsewhere, according to a report in Entrepreneur.com.

Ryan Scott began renting out his own place in San Diego on Airbnb when he was traveling for IBM as a full-time consultant. He set a goal of replacing his IBM income through Airbnb and bought more rental property.

“The disruptive power of Airbnb to the industry is what has enabled me to convince investors that I, as a newcomer on the vacation rental scene, could outperform entrenched vacation rental managers,” Scott told Entrepreneur.com.

Airbnb has a payment system and a review process where both guest and host can review each other to build a reputation. It claims to have 1.5 million listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries. Founded in August 2008 in San Francisco, California, the company is privately owned and operated.

Airbnb plans to significantly grow its business in Africa, BizTechAfrica reports. The number of Africans using Airbnb to travel has increased by 139 percent and the number of people staying in Airbnb listings on the continent increased by 145 percent in the past year.

To accelerate growth in Africa, Airbnb appointed Nicola D’Elia as general manager for the region. D’Elia worked previously developing the company’s Facebook’s growth and partnerships in Africa, Europe, and the East.

Kenya has 1,400-plus Airbnb listings with 788 of them in Nairobi. The number of Kenyans using Airbnb tripled in the past year, BizTechAfrica reports.

“The spirit of entrepreneurialism is a common thread that unites the Airbnb
community across the globe,” Chesky said. “I’m thrilled to meet so many
entrepreneurs here at GES who will build and grow this community throughout Africa. And I’m excited to see how Airbnb will empower people across the continent to make extra income while providing travelers with a truly authentic experience.”