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Get new insights from this Airbnb Business Model Canvas example

Studying the business models of other companies is a good way to learn and get ideas for your own business model. In this blog I discuss the Airbnb business model. Get inspired by the Airbnb Business Model Canvas example.

Why it’s great to study this Airbnb Business Model Canvas example

Airbnb has revolutionized travel and accommodation, becoming a key player in the sharing economy. To understand how there businessmodel is part of their success I created this Airbnb Business Model Canvas example. In this blog I will discuss the business model step by step. I also show various new business models that Airbnb added later.

1. Customer segments

Airbnb Business Model Canvas | Customer segments

Airbnb serves various customer segments:

  • Travelers: Individuals seeking accommodation. Within this there are of course various distinctions to be made, such as families with children, adventurous young people, etc.
  • Hosts: Homeowners or property owners looking to generate extra income by renting out their properties.

2. Value propositions

Airbnb Business Model Canvas | Value Proposition

Airbnb offers unique value propositions for its customer segments:

  • Travelers: Access to a wide range of unique accommodations worldwide, often at lower prices than traditional hotels. Personalized and authentic experiences.
  • Hosts: The opportunity to generate extra income by renting out their properties. Easy access to a global network of potential guests. They remove risks with an insurance service and help hosts to be successful.

3. Customer relationships

Airbnb Business Model Canvas | Customer relationships

Airbnb’s customer relationships include:

  • Community and forums: Users can share experiences and tips.
  • Customer support: Available to resolve customer queries and issues.
  • Reviews and ratings: Users can rate each other, fostering trust and transparency.
  • Relational: Airbnb tries to establish long term relationships with travelers and hosts. They want to ensure that Airbnb becomes the obvious choice for all their trips.

4. Channels

Airbnb reaches and communicates with its customers through:

  • Website and mobile app: These are the primary platforms where users can search, book, and list accommodations. Travelers can invite fellow travelers to their trip-list.
  • Referral-shares: Airbnb customers are encouraged to invite their network. In return, both receive travel credit which gives them discount on an accommodation on Airbnb.
  • Blogs: Airbnb has several partnerships with blogs. On multiple blogs people share the Airbnb referral-link, in the hope they receive travel credits for the people who click on their link and registrar on Airbnb.

5. Revenue streams

Airbnb generates revenue through:

  • Service fees: Charges to hosts and guests for each booking.
  • Negative cash conversion: I didn’t mentioned it in the canvas, but Airbnb also makes money from the fact that they receive payments from travelers before they pay the hosts. This means they always have large amounts of cash at their disposal temporarily, which they can use for various purposes.

6. Core activities

Airbnb’s key activities are:

  • Platform management: Maintaining and developing the website and app.
  • Marketing activities: Promoting the brand and attracting new users.
  • Customer support: Providing assistance to hosts and travelers. Also manage reviews and ratings for quality control and get insights for improvements and new propositions.

7. Key resources

Airbnb’s key resources include:

  • Website + app: Their technology platform is the core of the business.
  • Brand and reputation: The brand name and reputation is a critical success factor
  • Listings: With Airbnb’s multi-sided platform model, the balance between quality buyers and the supply of fantastic accommodations is important to be and remain competitive.
  • Customer base: Fans and ambassadors who repeatedly use and promote Airbnb and who can be approached with new propositions.
  • Data: To understand trends and improve the user experience.

8. Key partners

Airbnb’s key partners are:

  • Insurance companies: To provide insurance to hosts.
  • Local governments: To comply with local laws and regulations.
  • Professional photographers: Perfect photos of the stays ensure more bookings and are an important part of the success formula.

9. Cost structure

Airbnb incurs various costs to realize their value proposition. The Airbnb Business Model Canvas example shows a number of important cost items.

  • Platform Development: Costs related to the development and maintenance of the website and app.
  • Marketing and Sales: Advertising and promotional activities.
  • Customer Support: Salaries and training for support staff.
  • Referral-commission: Cost of the referral programs.
  • Insurance and Guarantees: Providing insurance and guarantees to users and hosts.
  • Host pay-outs: Payouts to hosts for renting out their property through the Airbnb platform.
  • Offices: Rent for their offices.
  • Other: Everything else that cost money and isn’t listed here.

Characteristics in Airbnb’s Business Model Canvas

The following hacks can be observed in Airbnb’s business model.

  • Multi-sided platform
  • Broker
  • Affiliate
  • Community
  • Peer-2-peer
  • Cash machine
  • Collections
  • Aikido
  • Blitzscaling
  • Brand equity
  • Gamification
  • End-to-end customer experience

And more…

The businessmodel of Airbnb is not static

Airbnb’s business model is far from static; it is a dynamic and evolving framework. Over the years, Airbnb has introduced several innovative developments to enhance its core offerings. Let’s deep dive into 3 interesting evolvements.

1. Experiences | Airbnb Business Model Canvas example

Airbnb Experiences offers travelers unique, locally-led activities that go beyond traditional tours. From cooking classes with local chefs to guided nature hikes and cultural workshops, these experiences provide authentic, immersive ways to explore a destination. Hosted by passionate locals, Airbnb Experiences allows guests to connect with the community and create unforgettable memories, enhancing their travel adventures with personal and distinctive touches.

I think this Airbnb Business Model Canvas is great because:

  • It is a perfect fit with the core of the proposition (create authentic, personalized experiences). Also it shows how the travel experience can be improved by adding a new group (local citizens).
  • The addition provides a lot of extra distinctiveness, because these types of unique experiences are not directly available from other travel providers.

2. B2B | Airbnb Business Model Canvas example

Airbnb B2B caters to corporate clients by offering flexible, cost-effective accommodation solutions for business travelers. With a dedicated platform for managing business travel, companies can easily book and manage stays for employees, ensuring comfort and convenience. Airbnb B2B provides unique options for long-term stays, team retreats, and corporate events, all tailored to meet the needs of modern businesses. This service enhances productivity and employee satisfaction by offering a wide range of high-quality, customizable lodging options.

I think this Airbnb Business Model Canvas is great because:

  • They reuse one of their key resources (listings). With a number of adjustments to the business model, they make the proposition suitable for the business target group.
  • There may be an indirect network effect. Travelers who gain a positive experience at work may also book an Airbnb privately.
  • This example further shows that other competencies are needed to be successful with this B2B business model.

3. Friendly Building Program | Airbnb Business Model Canvas example

The Airbnb Friendly Building Program partners with property owners and developers to create rental-friendly buildings. This program allows residents to host on Airbnb with the support of their landlords, providing clear guidelines and revenue-sharing models. It helps property owners increase their revenue and tenant satisfaction while offering tenants the flexibility to earn extra income by sharing their space. The program fosters a community-focused approach, ensuring benefits for both property owners and residents through a structured, mutually beneficial arrangement.

I think this Airbnb Business Model Canvas is great because:

  • They can direct what needs to be built. Based on data and their customer insights, they are able to create distinctive accommodations that can only be booked on Airbnb. This strengthens the market position.
  • The implementation and ownership is in the hands of third parties. As a result, Airbnb itself runs less risk and can grow much faster than if they would finance this themselves. Of course, there are also disadvantages for them.

What can you learn from the Airbnb Business Model Canvas example?

I hope the Airbnb Business Model Canvas examples has inspired you. What can your company learn from Airbnb’s businessmodel? Perhaps it’s time to rethink your value propositions, explore new market segments, or enhance customer relationships. Need more inspiration or help to create winning business models? Subscribe to our innovation newsletter or discover our Business Growth Consulting services.

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