San Francisco is a small town. Stand still long enough and you are likely to bump into a billionaire or two, standing in line for a coffee. Or simply sitting in the lobby of a hotel like Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb. I ran into him the other day. He interrupted his call, gave me a big hug and explained that for the past twenty days he was staying in hotels using the new addition to its hospitality empire. He is learning all about the app and the service which is rumored to have cost them over $450 million.
I wouldn’t expect anything less — Airbnb founders eat their own dog food and want to always be improving the experience. As I rode the elevator, I wondered to myself — how many CEOs of big hotel chains secretly check out the Airbnb experience, and how many delegate it to minions. My guess is that most of the chiefs have never stayed a night in an Airbnb and put themselves in the shoes of the traveler who opts for the experience.
I am a hotel kinda guy — Airbnb is a last choice for me, so it is great to find good deals on Hotel Tonight. I am glad they bought it. I am even happier to see that despite all the success, multi-billion dollar valuation, the founder is still as obsessed with the experience as he was nearly a decade ago.