Airbnb is a peer-to-peer lodging company, dominating the sharing market with services across 191 countries. They saw high levels of success while entering the market, obtaining a first mover advantage in the industry, eventually leading to many classifying it as a unicorn.
The brand itself has become a verb, with the term “Airbnb” now being widely understood, similar to other successful brand-verbs such as Googling something or Photoshopping an image.
Today, the sharing economy is a large and active marketplace with many operators, making the market highly competitive and very saturated. Airbnb is in danger of losing its differentiation as a ‘unique’ experience as more and more companies begin to mature their brand positioning.
Let's take a look at some of the issues Airbnb may have in their strategic planning...
The peer-to-peer lodging market is characterised by a number of significant macro trends, with political, economic and environmental significantly impacting the market. In the UK, uncertainties around life post-Brexit have made consumers wary of booking holidays in advance, instead opting for package holidays.
The uncertain future could lead to a drop in the value of the pound, which could benefit Airbnb UK from foreign bookings. Equally important, consumers have increasing desires to stay in environmentally friendly accommodation, meaning pressure for Airbnb to reposition its stance and provide different services.
Learn more about this framework in the Ultimate Guide to PESTLE.
Porter’s Five Forces analyses the competitive environment which Airbnb functions in, assessing the differing aspects that impact the business on a strategic level.
Industry Rivalry: High
Threat of New Entry: Medium
Threat from Substitutes: Medium
Threat from Suppliers: Low
Threat from Buyers: Medium
Learn more about this framework in the Ultimate Guide to Five Forces.
Understanding the external environment using PESTLE and then working on your Five Forces to review the industry, ultimately leads you to your SWOT analysis. Let’s take a look at it for Airbnb…
Learn more about this framework in the Ultimate Guide to SWOT Analysis.
The above is a working example of Airbnb in theory. Taking it forward, what would the strategic objectives be for Airbnb? Well outside of financial ones you may also have…
Under these strategic objectives may sit key goals, for example rolling out the pilot to two regions in a country, or ensuring a high NPS score for their customers.
Learn more about this concept in our Strategic Objective Guide.
Airbnb are in a very strong strategic position. They are well known as a brand, they have a large userbase and a huge network of locations. While there remain risks, the current situation is positive and therefore should be used to invest and capitalise on the next phase to ensure they maintain that position as market leader.
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