Rather than check-in at conventional hotels that provide room service and mints on pillows, 123 travelers will sleep inside real castles on Tuesday night throughout 42 different countries as part of Airbnb’s “sharing economy.” Similar businesses also established this trend where companies thrive on trust, loaning services and products to strangers.
“There is a whole generation of people who want access to things, not necessarily wanting to own them,” Brian Chesky, the CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, said Tuesday during an Afternoon Mo Joe web-exclusive interview.
Airbnb is the operator of a website that allows people to rent rooms and residences around the world in housing that includes castles, caves, tepees, igloos, tree houses, motor homes, and glass houses. Chesky and his roommate turned their San Francisco apartment into a bed and breakfast when they didn’t have enough money to pay a month’s rent in 2007. Now, Airbnb is a $2.5 billion business. On Tuesday night, 150,000 people around the world will stay in Airbnb housing.
Similarly, RelayRides rents cars from a sharing marketplace and EatWith helps cooks turn their homes into restaurants.
People who grew up relying on the Internet are willing to connect and meet people in the real world who they first met online, he said.
“You can’t stay exciting perhaps forever. But what you can do is be relevant forever. What you can do is provide meaningful experiences for customers, so that’s what we focus on,” said Chesky, who stayed at an Airbnb loft in New York City while visiting for his interview.
The company, which was first called “Airbed and Breakfast,” verifies the identities of the hosts before they are allowed to participate in the sharing program. Guests can rate hosts–and vice versa–to build a reputation in the system. All homes on the site are insured up to $1 million.
“When we started this, a lot of people thought we were absolutely crazy,” Chesky said Tuesday on Morning Joe. “But it continues to grow. I knew from the very beginning this would work because I had this great experience myself.”
Be sure to watch other web-exclusive interviews and roundtable discussions right here in the Afternoon Mo Joe section of the website.
Watch more from Chesky’s Morning Joe interview: