AirBnB Success Story That's Oscar-Worthy


Reading any success story helps to discover how the business moved from bad odds to one with better odds.

Talking about an inspiring AirBnB success story will greet you with secrets behind such conquest.

It’s inspiring how an unvalued startup idea benefits society through the power of the digital platform.

A whole new Trip Platform where you can book a homestay, book an authentic local experience or book your favorite local food online along with enjoying great hospitality offline.

The best example of developing a completely healthy travel culture with more than 150 million users, 31 offices worldwide and experiencing the fastest growing host demographics of 400 million guests hosted since it’s launch in 2008.

AirBnB brought the whirlwind of change in the hospitality sector and become one of the most curious data discussed across the globe.

That said! Let’s walk through the beautiful chapters of the success story of AirBnB that can also amuse your business neurons to think of an AirBnB Similar app development.

More importantly, the birth and growth story of AirBnB has productive struggles at every stage of achieving milestones.

Check it out!

Idea Generation the Beginning Of AirBnB Success Story

Two young folks, Nathan and Joe were roommates in an apartment located in San Francisco. And the rent of this apartment was increased to 25% in Oct 2007. The rise in rent made Nathan leave the apartment. At the same time, Brian- a friend of Joe planned to shift from Los Angeles to San Francisco to be an entrepreneur. But he only had $1000 after quitting his job in Los Angeles and the apartment rent was $1150.

Facing a math problem, two of them-Brian and Joe who were designers noticed a design conference (Industrial Design Society of America) was happening in San Francisco. They decided to get some leads to earn money by participating in this conference. But as they saw all the hotels recommended and affiliated for this conference was sold out, they thought to serve air beds and breakfast for the event participants.


This is where the idea of airbed& was initiated that was solely for participants of the listed events! They discovered a way of making friends while also making money.

Joe and Brian created a very simple webpage of just a blog to advertise and also wrote to many local bloggers for the backlinks. By doing this, they had three people who booked the air bed and breakfast.

This was a memorable week for them as they not only earned $1000 but also served guests a city tour and were grouping at the conference with the guest. It was an unnoticed thing happening during this time which we call it as ‘wonderful friendships’.

When the idea was made live the Next stage in the AirBnB success story

Fast forwarding to a couple of months, in January 2008, Nathan also quit his job and all the three jobless people decided to start a business. What they had in mind was there must be other people in different situations where the concept of offering air bed & breakfast can work well.

Within three weeks, they developed a website airbed& that had a few web pages designed as a simple directory of events where the local people can list their spare bedroom only for particular events and those coming from out of town could look it up and talk to these locals to book an air bed and breakfast.


Approx a dozen properties get listed in airbed& and only two to three people booked the homestay.

This ‘no response phase’ was a big push of AirBnB success story.

Not giving up! They thought to upgrade the app. They made revisions in the payment system with the booking payments to be done upfront rather than making the hosts insecure of receiving payments while they serve hospitality to their guests.

And in the summer of 2008, this made them revise the airbed& with some more updates. To make it seamless ‘three clicks to book a homestay’ for people just like that of a hotel and not restricted to only event participants.

They thought to launch this new version of website three months before an event ‘Democratic National Convention’ that was going to happen in August 2008 where Barack Obama was going to receive the democratic party’s nomination for the presidency.

The Funding Struggle that made AirBnB a startup sensation

It’s a funding struggle that no one believed in. During these trial and error phase of AirBnB website, they had to use credit cards so much so that they faced a heavy debt.

This AirBnB success story is the best example of staying positive during the real business struggle. Check it out!

Probing for ways to come out of debts, they focused on a political event.

The Democratic National Convention event as mentioned in the above phase was going to be conducted in a stadium with a holding capacity of 80,000 people. But the event had only 17000 hotel rooms.

They thought to grab this opportunity that can even help them to raise funds and come out of heavy debts.

Within the first week of the website launch, almost 800 properties got listed. Meantime the news highlighted an increasing number of people interested to participate in this event but there aren’t any places to stay.

The three founders of AirBnB wrote to reporters that they have 800 listed properties on their website for people to book a homestay. Soon they got into the news stories and came live in CNN interview. The business got a great response from the event participants with almost 100 people booking a stay on their website.

But one week after the event, the business got into zeros. They were unable to get the expected bookings and guest response towards

This was when they were literally in a big pool of debt. The toughest struggle behind AirBnB success story.

To survive and finance the company they thought to generate the press.

Brainstorming on how to convince the political reporters who are all focused on the upcoming elections to be held in November 2008 made them conclude-
‘There’s a lot done with airbeds, let’s do something with breakfast!’

They designed a precidenciary themed cereals ‘Obama Oats’ by getting the boxes printed, going to the supermarket and re-stuffing the cereals into the Obama themed boxes.


Instead of just sending emails to the reporters, they sent approx 100 of each box to each reporter in order to raise questions.

It worked! This made them come live on CNN again.

And they even sold the Obama cereal boxes for $40 each whereas the actual cost of each of these boxes was $1 to $2.

And unexpectedly earned $30,000 within a week from which they were only able to clear out their outstanding debts.

This is how they tried coming out of debts that just happened out of the blues.
The real battle that made them scrappy!

Still facing the debts, they also tried to raise money in the traditional way of reaching out to many venture capitalists and investors.
But things got worse with rejections from everywhere.

The fall of 2009- totally jobless, no source to raise money except the $30,000 earned selling Obama cereals which just cleared their outstanding debts.
Things got more bleak with recessions in the global economy.

This was the time when they had 90% chances to give up and only 10% chances to raise funds.
One of their advisers said to apply in Y Combinator a program run by Paul Graham. They tried to apply and finally got selected for an interview which didn’t go well.

As they were walking out, Joe gave a box of Obama Cereals to Paul Graham. Listening to the Obama Cereals story, Paul Graham loved it and led the three AirBnB founders into the program.

This was the point where things started getting good. With developing connections and pitching mentors through Y Combinator, they got their first round of funding of $5,85,000 in the year 2009.

This funding was still not enough to pick up a pace in their business.

But this investment was done by Sequouia – one of the leading venture capital firms which dragged the attention of other powerful VC firms onto AirBnB.

Hey folks! Here starts the interesting sensation of AirBnB.

Bringing The Change disrupting the existing vacation rental business

Despite fewer hopes, the team spirit was still high and they felt they have not given their 100% energies on the business.

A beautiful starting of ‘success’ in AirBnB success story.

Things completely began to change as these three crazy entrepreneurs got hyper-focused on their targets.

Meantime they got great advice from one of the investors who asked them where are the users located?

With most of the users being from New York, the advice was to go to New York and meet all the users.

They visited New York and met the users. This made them notice the hosts had posted blurred and bad photos of listed properties on the website.

So Brian and Joe went to each host and clicked beautiful photos to upload on the website and wrote attractive descriptions for hosts to add it in their profile.

The Victory finally the Hardwork Pays Off

As a result of uploading high-quality photos, improving the profile descriptions, lower prices, and a group of cooperative hosts who wanted this idea to succeed.

They suddenly had a rich and unique product – A complete vacation rental and trip platform!
AirBNB Guests from around the world started booking homestays in New York and the AirBNB hosts started making money.

Effortless marketing started happening with hosts spreading brand awareness through word of mouth explaining their money earnings simply by listing the spare properties.

Their friends and friends of friends started listing properties that were located at different places in the world.

There were cases where the guest became the AirBNB host themselves after coming back from a lovely experienced homestay booked on AirBnB website.

And bang on! The concept started to propagate. And this is how the AirBNB success story witnessed its first major victory.

Properties on the AirBNB website started popping up from Barcelona, Berlin, Hongkong, and all around the world.
Today it’s 6,00,000 properties in 192 countries that are listed on the AirBNB website and highly booked by the guests.

It took 4 years to get the first ‘one million’ guests. And with much of a surprise, in the year 2013, they served 7 million additional guests. Raising the numbers to 11 million AirBNB guest bookings at present.

Get The Comparison Of The Airbnb And Uber App Models For Your Startup, Right Now!

AirBnB Web & Mobile App Timeline the Technical Side of AirBNB Success Story

Oct 2007 -

Developed a simple webpage using WordPress, just a blog page for putting up advertisements.

Jan 2008 -

Developed airbed& that had a few web pages designed as a simple directory of events.

Summer of 2008 -

A new version of website which featured ‘Three clicks to book a homestay’ for people just like that of a hotel and not restricted to only event participants.

Mid of 2008 -

A product named ‘Obama Cereal’ was sold on the website and featured on the homepage.

2009 - experienced the high-quality HD photos of properties uploaded by hosts along with improved profile pages.

2010 -

Launched AirBnB mobile app with improved user experience.

2013 -

Booking done by 7 million additional guests.

2014 -

AirBnB redesigns its website and mobile app along with redesigning the company logo.

2016 -

AirBnB launches ‘Experiences’ feature for app users.

2018 -

With a user-friendly, smart, and sleek design of the AirBnB website and mobile app, the company launched ‘AirBnB for Work’ feature for corporate travelers.

Now -

Increasing new product categories of homestay for all types of travelers.

The upper hand in Technology

The technology was a hero element in AirBnB success story. Yes! AirBnB is a cloud-based application with capabilities to manage heavy workloads along with speedy scalability.

Platform Architecture


To store data and simplify administrationAmazon RDS (Amazon’s cloud relational database)
To store user dataAmazon S3 and EBS cloud storage
To carefully distribute incoming traffic and handle sudden traffic increasesAmazon EC2 cloud hosting
To store, process, analyze, and manage huge amounts of dataBig data tools like Airpal, Presto, and Druid

Search technology


  • A search algorithm powered by Artificial Intelligence that analyses the user requirement of location and relevance.
  • Attractive discovery experience that allows users to like and save the search results.
  • ‘AirBnB Places’ is developed for users to digitally explore the places they are planning to visit.
  • Equips advanced filtration in search options

Communication and interactive technology


  • Push notifications are automatically sent to hosts who do not respond to the guest request.
  • It’s also equipped with communication API that automatically sends an SMS message to the host in case if they fail to respond to even the push notifications.
  • Real-time chat tool that helps the hosts and guests to instantly communicate with each other on the AirBnB app.
  • Sending a common text to multiple hosts and advanced chat options for the user to create chat with multiple users at the time of planning a vacation or a trip.

Payment technology


  • Licensed as a money transmitter, a high-tech payment tool integrates local payment providers to maintain payment transactions in various currencies.
  • AirBnB for the US allows users to pay with PayPal. And for most of the other countries, Braintree API is integrated for the users to have a smooth payment experience.
  • iOS app of AirBnB has integrated Apple Pay and Android app of AirBnB has integrated Google Pay for the users.
  • Aerosolve Machine Learning system helps the host to set and optimize the best prices for their listings on the app.

Security Measures


  • Any message or information that includes user’s contact details is automatically deleted by AirBnB messaging system.
  • Using cookies and similar technology to provide a customized experience to the users and help detect specific types of fraud.
  • Pixel tags and web beacons help to measure the response to the interactions done by AirBnB and the users.
  • Server logs help to improve the user experience and delivery of AirBnB services through secured data collection technology.
  • Seamless technology for customized booking & cancellation policy, secure payment processing, account protection, verified accounts, private message chat option, and host guarantee (insurance by AirBnB)
  • Facebook Graph API integrated as a trusted technology to develop social connections which help users find air bed or room to be rented from hosts that are facebook friends or linked as friends of friends on Facebook.

Perfect Positioning Markteing Strategy of AirBNB Leading to their incredible Success Story

The strategic positioning of AirBnB will reveal how they actually evolved as a brand and made a rich identity in its community by offering unique product experience and attractive marketing strategies. Know how marketing was a crucial part of AirBnB success story.

2007 -

Presented as a most affordable alternative to the hotel through a message ‘Forget Hotels’.

2008 -

The brand message gave more emphasis to the community by putting forward the human contact as AirBnB experience through the message ‘Travel Like a Human’.

2013 -

Gave new life to the brand identity and reshaped the mission with a totally different concept of hospitality. With a message ‘Belong Anywhere’, AirBnB was identified as a homestay experience with a sense of belonging anywhere at any time.

2016 -

Made strong positioning in the market through a message ‘Don’t Go There, Live There’ by offering not just a homestay, but to let the guest live like the locals.

Now -

Creating a unique brand image by ‘Focusing on Real Experience’ that gives people a feeling to be at home, even if it’s just for a day or a night stay and to discover the true soul of the city they travel to.

The Unreal Growth Summarizing the success story of AirBnB

Checkout the numbers achieved by AirBnB in the year 2018


Know The Marketing Strategy Followed By Airbnb, Right Now!

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The New Era of AirBNB introduction

AirBnB Experiences


In the year 2016, AirBnB launched ‘Experiences’ as an app feature with a core motive to offer a comprehensive travel solution for travelers. Coming onto how it works….
For the hosts, AirBnB Experience is an opportunity to share their hobbies, expertise or skills without needing a specific room or space as an office. Well! For the guests, AirBnB Experience is an opportunity to do what they love about local culture or any other interest of their choice.

AirBnB for work


And in February 2018, they launched ‘AirBnB for Work’ as a complete one-stop travel solution for corporate needs.
This service is to let the employees enjoy travel, connect and collaborate with the locals. The listed work-friendly home categories are featured in AirBnB for work along with experiences that help to develop a meaningful connection in a team and also book interesting convenient spaces of their choice for meetings, conferencing and other such get-togethers.

Does the AirBnB success story have an ending?

The Future creating the new banchmark to prosper

AirBnB is planning for providing transformative benefits of personal, local, and authentic travel to every traveler’s tribe.

  • Future plan heads with all personalization which includes offering new travel categories where people can book a vacation home, unique home, bed & breakfast or Boutiques along with the currently offered categories of a private room, entire home, and shared space.
  • The team is planning to launch new tires- AirBnB Plus (for quality assured homestay) and Beyond by AirBnB ( custom designed trips with world-class hospitality)
  • Superhost program and new guest membership program are planned to be launched in 2019.

The future of AirBnB is all focused to offer ultra-fancy luxury travel categories for every occasion and any type of a homestay.

Lastly, check out one of the most important innovations that happened out of blues.

The Creation of Creator

There are also successful startups that evolved from AirBnB and are completely running on AirBnB. Rise of AirBnB become a growth plan for other entrepreneurs.

The users themselves spotted the pain points in the AirBnB process and initiated a startup business as purveyors of AirBnB gold rush.

For instance,

 Guesty Is A Part of AirBNB Success Story



Israeli twin brothers started a professional management service for AirBnB hosts. Here, the AirBnB hosts give access of their AirBnB accounts to the Guesty. They will handle all the guest communication, bookings, updating calendar, scheduling, managing cleaners, and other related tasks on behalf of the hosts for a fee of 3% of every booking charge.




Started by Scott Shatford and Will Shatford, AirDNA offers metrics for all the AirBnB rentals that are listed worldwide. Users can analyze their own market or research on future investments and they can search for the most lucrative short-term rental investment locations. This app smartly combines AirBnB data with the home value data of approx 7,50,000 properties in the US.




It’s for the hosts that face a problem of handing over the keys to the guests and can’t manage to be at home when guests arrive.
KeyCafe provides an RFID enabled keyfob. The Keycafe app assigns the travelers with a unique access code of the kiosks from where they are supposed to collect the keys of their booked homestay. The updates on key pickup or dropoff are notified to the host upfront.

Our Thoughts

Inspired to start a business similar to AirBnB? Or want to be a strong competitor to AirBnB? Or confused about how to start an AirBnB like the business that’s a totally fresh concept to implement in the sharing economy?

Starting an AirBnB business is a synonym of setting your goals high.

As focused as you are, the app developers at TRooTech will make your invisible goals a visible success through an app similar to AirBnB.

Make TRooTech your friendly digital partner and we will understand your startup goals, validate your business idea, brainstorm & create a prototype, and finally help you launch a uniquely crafted AirBnB similar app for you to effortlessly become a leading startup!

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More About Author

Vishal Nakum

Vishal Nakum is a tech enthusiast with a passion for exploring the latest developments in the world of technology. He has a keen interest in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain, and enjoys keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in these fields. Vishal is an avid learner and is always on the lookout for new ways to expand his knowledge and skills. He is also a creative thinker and enjoys experimenting with new ideas and concepts. In his free time, Vishal enjoys playing video games and reading books on technology and science.