Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky presented his vision for a radically transformed travel industry of the future. The question that no one can answer correctly is to what extent some of these trends will be sustainable.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky acknowledged that sufficient affordable housing is a major challenge, but argued that the new flexible nature of work brought about by the pandemic will cause people to migrate into city hallways. and other less dense places where residences can be cheaper.
In a fireside chat on Tuesday with Skift Founder and CEO Rafat Ali at the Skift Global Forum 2021 opening event, Chesky said that previously people have to live in a certain city. to work, but with remote work people have more options. [See the video below.]
He said he recently told a major city mayor that cities should see their citizens as “clients” who can make choices because they can work anywhere.
Join us at the Skift Global Forum in New York September 21-23 and hear from Peter Kern, CEO of Expedia Group, and Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings.
Granting that some people may need to work in New York or San Francisco, Chesky argued that the internet is the most important place rather than a physical place because it promotes remote working.
Of course, many ordinary workers who may work in manufacturing or retail departments may be tied to a physical location and do not have the luxury of working remotely.
New golden age of travel
The Airbnb co-founder and CEO said travel will return to an altered state due to the changes generated by the pandemic, although it will come back bigger than ever. Chesky said he envisions a new golden age of travel.
Chesky said overtourism doesn’t really exist in the sense that there are many under-visited destinations that could attract tourism. In fact, he said, 40% of users who visit Airbnb initially don’t have a destination or travel dates in mind, so Airbnb will play a role in inspiring them to visit new destinations.
Chesky has argued throughout the pandemic that the changing nature of work and the tendency of consumers to book longer stays has changed the landscape of long-term travel, blurring the line between travel and living. He claimed hotels had lost their appeal and travelers would turn to more off-the-beaten-path destinations in short-term rentals, where they can have more control over the environment for the sake of cleanliness and convenience. security.
Recruiting employees will be the key
Chesky said mass tourism will return as people return to Times Square in New York, Paris and Rome, but there will be new alternatives for travel. Work and life are intertwined, he said. For example, one-fifth of Airbnb stays last 30 days or more.
In this new environment, if companies want to recruit top talent, they will look to determine whether employees want to return to the office four days a week or perhaps alternate between a few weeks in the office and several weeks telecommuting.
“I don’t think companies will dictate this,” Chesky said. “The employees will dictate that. “
He said listening to employee preferences on the structure of the company’s work in the office or on work policies anywhere would become second nature to CEOs 40 and under.
With remote workers being so at home that they will have a deep desire to travel, Chesky said, adding that although mass tourism returns, there will be alternatives.
Chesky said, “I think it’s less about landmarks and more about being with people.”
The hybrid in-person and online event at the TWA hotel in New York’s JFK Airport will also feature many of Chesky’s rivals, including Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel and Expedia Group CEO, Peter Kern. The two took issue with Chesky’s vision for the future of travel, saying cities and hotels will eventually come back with a vengeance.
In the early stages of the pandemic, Airbnb saw its activities almost come to a halt, laid off 25% of its staff, reduced investments in several lines of business, including hotels, but increased during a resumption of travel so that domestic travelers around the world were looking for alternatives to city hotels.
Register now for Skift Global Forum September 21-23
Video of Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky appearing at the Skift Global Forum:
Watch: Skift Global Forum Opening Night