[Alvin Brickman for Metrosetter Wire]
Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, spoke at the PhoCusWright conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, earlier this month, and his ideas about the future and the sharing economy have created a flurry of controversy on the Internet. In Chesky’s vision of the future, most are nomadic and have few material possessions, and the short-term rental and hotel industries peacefully coexist. Utopian, or not?
Excerpt from Dennis Schaal, Skift, “Airbnb CEO has a vision of a future where everyone shares — and Airbnb collects a modest fee“:
“Travel is going to go away in the future,” Chesky said. “People won’t travel, they will be mobile,” staying in one place for a night, and perhaps moving onto another locale for four months.
“When you are actually connecting and meeting in the real world, that is what travel is going to be,” Chesky said.
In this scenario, Chesky derided the inefficiencies of apartment leases, contending they will become relics as people will move around, living in one place for a few weeks or months, and residing elsewhere for another period.
Chesky even went so far as to outline his vision for tackling the European economic crisis, noting that millions of tourists want to travel to Greece and Spain, and they can be paired with millions of unemployed Spaniards and Greeks, who will become the new “micro-entrepreneurs,” and can serve as hosts and local tour guides to help travelers experience the world like locals.
This dynamic will be the next social network, Chesky said, arguing that real “social” will take place “after Facebook.”
In this super-mobile, changing world, romanticism about owning a car or home “is going away,” Chesky opined. He wasn’t clear how this would affect the 92% of Airbnb hosts he mentioned earlier who are owners.
The sharing economy is a win-win for all concerned, Chesky offered, in a kumbaya moment.
“For us to win, nobody has to lose,” Chesky said. “The idea there has to be a battle between us and HomeAway, between us and the hotel industry is absurd.”
He said the travel industry is “not a zero-sum game. For us to win, everyone can win because the travel industry is under-valued.”