Business Essentials for Professionals

Airbnb To Diversify In House Designing And Building In 2019


Airbnb To Diversify In House Designing And Building In 2019
After creating a global network that more than 5 million homes, castles, and treehouses for rent and a business that is estimated to be worth about $38 billion, Airbnb is now venturing into a business where it would act an architect or a town planner.
This is the outcome of a futures division of Airbnb called Samara which was set up in 2016 by its chief product officer and cofounder Joe Gebbia m which the company used to generate and develop new products and services.  
Airbnb now intends to transform itself into a company that not only provides the housing for renting but also the houses that can be rented.
The new initiative of the company has been christened Backyard which is “an endeavor to design and prototype new ways of building and sharing homes,” according to a press statement issued by Airbnb. The company also announced that the first test houses would be made available to the public in 2019.
One might be tempted to believe that Airbnb would primarily engage in construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) by the name of the project, which are small cottage type accommodations that are often found behind large suburban houses. Such houses are often rented out on Airbnb.
But the company said that this is not the aim of the new venture. “The project was born in a studio near Airbnb headquarters,” he says in an interview over email. “We always felt as if we were in Airbnb’s backyard–physically and conceptually–and started referring to the project as such,” Gebbia said.
Airbnb plans to construct much larger units than ADUs, and according to Gebbia: “Yes, small prefabricated dwellings could be in the roadmap, but so are green building materials, standalone houses, and multi-unit complexes. Think of Backyard as both a producer and a marketplace for selling major aspects of the home, in any shape it might come in.”
“Backyard investigates how buildings could utilize sophisticated manufacturing techniques, smart-home technologies, and gains vast insight from the Airbnb community to thoughtfully respond to changing owner or occupant needs over time,” Gebbia said. “Backyard isn’t a house, it’s an initiative to rethink the home. Homes are complex, and we’re taking a broad approach–not just designing one thing, but a system that can do many things.”
The company has embarked on this venture also out of a moral imperative and aims to ensure that the new houses would be designed such that they leave a small environmental footprint and that would be the aim of its Backyard venture, Gebbia said,
This venture is also a good opportunity for Airbnb to diversify its core business.
For the company, which is a digital product, it is almost always at risk of being posed with stiff competition by a hungry competitor or an aggressive new startup. But buildings are physical entities and are part of the infrastructure of the world. The company believes that a company that is dependent on software for its survival can make much graver mistakes than investing in buildings and infrastructure.
No details were offered by Airbnb about specifics of the project or the launch data next year.  
But according to reports, the new houses that are being planned to be designed and constructed by the company would be such that they can be shared and would be built from scratch. While it is not clear what exactly such houses would look like, experts predict that those would be optimal to be able to shared on Airbnb rentals for hoisting and even for those who would want to invest in the backyard cottages as a business investment.
 “We’re optimizing for Backyard’s potential. We’re interested in thoughtfully exploring the opportunity and doing something transformative, similar to how Airbnb did when it started,” Gebbia said.