Will Airbnb Enter the Hotel Industry?
PHOTO: Yoshino Cedar House. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb).
San Francisco-based home-sharing platform Airbnb is currently in the business of connecting travelers with accommodation hosts around the world. But the company is at least experimenting with the idea of hotels, even if it isn't calling it that.
Airbnb recently launched a design studio called Samara. The studio's first project is a novel community center in Japan, according to Fastcodesign.com, "where travelers could also stay — thus providing the community with a central meeting point where they could also serve as hosts to tourists."
The Yoshino Cedar House, which is owned by Airbnb, is currently on display in Tokyo. However, it will be transported to Yoshino, Japan, this October. Shortly after, travelers will be able to book stays there.
The house's ground floor features a living room for community use, a kitchen and a 16-foot-long dining table in the center. Bedrooms are located upstairs.
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Unlike a hotel, though, Airbnb said booking proceeds will be put towards the community of Yoshino.
"Hosts get an economic stimulus and something to get excited about," Airbnb co-founder and chief product officer Joe Gebbia told Fastcodesign.com. "It’s a pathway to get the community to help each other, and it happens to be in the form of architecture."
Airbnb intends to see how the Yoshino Cedar House fares before potentially moving on to similar projects in other parts of the world. But Airbnb's latest venture isn't simply about constructing places for community members and tourists to stay.
Samara goes far beyond architecture, according to Gebbia.
"We’re going to use the lens community to build services that open new doors and new revenue streams for the community," he told Fastcodesign.com. "That space includes architecture, product design, software design, and new economic models."
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