Airbnb CEO hints heavily at adding crypto as a payment option

By Samuel Wan

Online vacation rental marketplace Airbnb may soon be adding crypto as a payment option.

Soon after the new year, CEO Brian Chesky asked Twitter,

“If Airbnb could launch anything in 2022, what would it be?“

Chesky whittled down the 4,000 comments to derive the six most common suggestions. Top of the pile was bringing crypto payments to the platform, followed by clearer pricing, and the introduction of a loyalty program.

Without going into specifics, Chesky said the firm is already working on most of the suggestions. He also pledged to look into those not already being actively worked on.

This leaves the door open regarding whether Airbnb crypto payments will happen or not. Then again, some would say, the odds are it will happen given the circumstances faced by travel businesses.

Got 4,000 suggestions. Here are the top 6:

1 – Crypto payments (top suggestion)
2 – Clear pricing displays
3 – Guest loyalty program
4 – Updated cleaning fees
5 – More long-term stays & discounts
6 – Better customer service

Already working on most, will look into others now! https://t.co/rxEM4BXZci

— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 5, 2022

How Airbnb responded to the health crisis

The past two years or so can be characterized by great uncertainty on a global scale. More so for businesses dependent on the free movement of people.

Airbnb was hit particularly hard as it suffered an 80% loss of its business soon after lockdowns came in.

Thanks to some decisive action, including an unwavering top-down message to reframe the crisis as a “rebirth” opportunity, Airbnb has managed to stabilize its position.

“I kept indoctrinating the company with: This is our defining moment. And you know what happened? It was our defining moment.

It was almost like a rebirth.”

In its November 2020 IPO filing, the firm reported revenue of $2.52 billion for the nine months to September 2020. Revenue for the same period in the previous year came in at $3.7 billion.

The filing also revealed a radical change in travel behavior, driven by work-from-home becoming commonplace during the lockdowns. As a result, the firm noticed an increase in the duration of stay. They concluded that instead of vacationing, Airbnb users were living temporarily in marketplace properties.

“We believe that the lines between travel and living are blurring, and the global pandemic has accelerated the ability to live anywhere.”

Will Airbnb add crypto payments?

Forbes says a factor to Airbnb’s rise from startup to juggernaut was listening to feedback and incorporating what was learned into its business practices.

“all three founders are grounded in design principles that focus on listening to the stated and unstated needs of the customers or web users they serve.”

With crypto payments being the top suggestion for things to add in 2022, it seems logical that it will happen.

What’s more, the firm’s IPO filing reveals it’s already (at least) thinking about crypto and even Metaverse technologies. This, they say, is necessary to adapt to the rapidly evolving business landscape.

“Our future success will also depend on our ability to adapt to emerging technologies such as tokenization, cryptocurrencies, new authentication technologies, such as biometrics, distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud technologies.”

The crypto community awaits Chesky’s response.

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