Airbnb is a Web and mobile service that connects on one hand hosts, who have a place to rent out, and, on the other hand, travelers who are looking for a more authentic travel and experience. On Airbnb, you can find either entire places, like apartment or houses, and also private rooms. Nicolas Ferrary, Country Manager France tells us why Airbnb chose to open an office in Paris in 2012.
Can you tell us more about Airbnb?
Airbnb is a Web and mobile service that connects on one hand hosts, who have a place to rent out, and, on the other hand, travelers who are looking for a more authentic travel and experience. On Airbnb, you can find either entire places, like apartment or houses, and also private rooms.
The company was created in California in San Francisco in 2008. From the beginning the website was accessible from everywhere in the world. So we had very quickly listings and users everywhere in the world. We wanted to open offices in different countries in the world. So we opened more than 10 offices in the last 2 years in Europe, Australia and South America.
Why did you choose to open an office in France?
There are about 20 people working in the Paris office. They were two main reasons why Airbnb chose to invest in France. The first one is that obviously France is one of the main touristic destinations in the world and Airbnb is really part of these new touristic trends. The second reason is that because when we opened the office in 2012, a year and a half ago, the Airbnb community in Paris was actually quite big already. In France, we had a little less than 10,000 listings. A year and a half later, we have nearly 35,000 listings in France.
What else makes France attractive to you as an investor?
I think that another important thing is that Airbnb is part of what we call the collaborative or sharing economy and France is quite ahead compared to other European countries in this field. So it was also one of the main reasons why Airbnb chose to be in France and be part of this sharing economy movement.
What are your future plans in France?
The first thing is that we are going to continue what we are currently doing. This means meeting our community, developing our community and making sure that more and more people are aware of this new way of traveling so more and more people will use Airbnb. We now want to develop more and more outside of cities. For example, in France we now have more than a third of our listings which are outside of cities: on the seaside, in mountain area, etc. The third thing is that we want more and more people to use Airbnb on mobile devices. We think that travel is something totally related to mobile. We want Airbnb users to be more and more mobile using the application more and more. That’s really the third thing that we want to focus on this year.