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Airbnb Open 2014 in San Francisco

Airbnb Open 2014 in San Francisco

Airbnb Open 2014

In November 2014 a very special event took place organized by Airbnb: the Airbnb Open. Over 1500 hosts from all over the world gathered at Fort Mason in San Francisco to connect, learn and have fun. To summarize: to belong.

Huzefa and me where fortunate enough to receive a special invitation from Airbnb and we were super excited to attend. It turned out an incredible experience. Read on to find out what it was all about and why you should join next year!

Fort Mason turned out a great location for the event. The location featured a large hall with all sorts of areas for attendants to hang out, a huge stand, break-out rooms, couches, tables and more.

Airbnb Open 2014

Main hall of the Airbnb Open 2014

The event featured a super host panel, Q&A sessions with the founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, host workshops, dinners hosted by Airbnb employees and much more.

One of the highlights was having the founders of Airbnb share some insights into how they started the company and the challenges that they had to overcome. Getting investors was one of them as few people believed in Airbnb in the early phases of the company, as Brian recalled: “One potential investor walked out of the room as I was halfway through my presentation. He didn't even finish his drink!” To support themselves, the founders started selling breakfast cereals online, the Obama O's and Cap'n McCain's.

Airbnb Open Founders Q&A

The founders of Airbnb sharing their story and answering questions

The event featured some really interesting speakers, such as

  • Chip Conley, head of Hospitality of Airbnb
  • Fred Reid, founding CEO of Virgin America
  • Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb
  • Joe Zadeh, Director of Product at Airbnb
  • Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO of Airbnb

The presentation by Joe Zadeh (also knows as “Joebot,” to prevent him from being confused with the other Joe in the Airbnb office, Joe Gebbia) was very much anticipated by all the Airbnb hosts that were attending, since they were all eager to know the updates on the Airbnb platform that were being released.

Airbnb Open Joebot

The man responsible for the design and functionality of the Airbnb platform

Here's an overview of the improvements that are being rolled out starting now and through 2015:

  1. More options to set calendar availability: new options include minimum nights per season, specific day check-ins only, (dis)allow same-day requests, maximum number of months that guests can book ahead and minimum days in between bookings.
  2. Pricing tools to help you set the optimal price: Airbnb will suggest prices for specific days to increase the chance that you'll receive a booking, based on data from other listings in your area. They will also provide insight into demand date to help you understand when demand is low and high so you can adjust prices accordingly
  3. Messaging tools to make it easier to manage inquiries: the ability to save responses for future use
  4. Demand data to help you understand how well you're doing: Airbnb will show statistics that allow you to compare yourself with other hosts in your area
  5. Faster mobile speed: Airbnb has received complains that the mobile app isn't fast enough and they are working on improving the speed
  6. Better guests through better profiles and education: Airbnb will educate guests to manage their expectations, for example that they don't expert an Airbnb to be a substitute for a five star hotel room

Some of these updates have already been rolled out in the US and the rest of the world will follow soon. Everything will be implemented worldwide by the end of 2015.

Another highlight of the Airbnb Open was the opportunity to personally meet the founders and have a chat with them. We obviously had signed copies of Get Paid For Your Pad for all three of them and it was great to be able to personally hand these out, and get a picture of course :).

Airbnb Open Brian Chesky

Brian was very happy with his signed copy

Last but not least, the location for the Airbnb Open 2015 was revealed, and it's going to be…Paris, the largest Airbnb city in the world with over 30.000 listings. Keep an eye out for updates on the registration process because the 2014 event was sold out within a few hours!

Happy hosting and hopefully I'll see you at the Airbnb Open 2015 in Paris!

Jasper

Want to know more? Listen to this podcast episode about the Airbnb Open 2014!

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