Introducing the Airbnb Innovation Council
Hospitality entrepreneurs have partnered with Airbnb to make hosting a way of life. We’re always seeking new ways to support the partners and hosts who are co-creating our shared future.
That’s why we’ve created a program that lets us engage in a more meaningful way with our partners and hosts. The program opens a direct line of communication that empowers those professionals not just to provide feedback on tools and features, but also to help shape our overall vision. We’re thrilled to introduce the Airbnb Innovation Council.
Like any conversation, the council only works if value flows both ways. So we designed it to be mutually beneficial. We get more direct guidance and unmatched industry expertise, while council members benefit from easier connections to Airbnb leadership, a closer look at our product roadmap, and the ability to provide direct feedback on support, ways to work together, and key initiatives and features.
For the program’s inaugural event, we wanted to meet with the people who create so many of the essential connections between hospitality entrepreneurs and Airbnb: hotel and vacation rental software providers. We invited executives and product leaders from some of our top software partners to join us in November 2019 for two days of intensive dialogue and collaboration in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Here are a few highlights from the event:
Why Dubrovnik? In keeping with the Innovation Council’s spirit of discovery, we wanted a location that might not be familiar to every participant. This city on the Adriatic Sea also happens to be spectacularly unique—a fitting environment for inspiration and fresh ideas.
To encourage direct, engaging conversation, we limited the event to 13 council members and a small group of leaders from Airbnb.
“The small scale and intimacy was better for feedback and knowledge sharing,” says Braeden, chief product officer at Bluetent. “I found the whole event fostered two-way communication rather than a speaker broadcasting one way.”
That communication took many forms. Presentations by software leaders and Airbnb were followed by breakout groups focusing on key topics, product overviews and demos, feature discussions, feedback sessions, and dialogue about future services. But some of our most memorable exchanges were less formal. We savored the chance to listen to these leaders—and to better understand their experiences—at cocktail hour, across the dinner table, and even during a walking tour along the city’s 16th-century walls.
We came home from Dubrovnik with a mother lode of insights, from the most specific product details to the broadest visions of what’s next for the industry. But we also gained an equally valuable sense of connection with our partners—a more personal understanding of their experiences, needs, and aspirations.
“I learned a lot from this exchange not only with Airbnb, but also with the other software providers,” says Fabian, the co-founder of Smoobu.
That sense of community and mutual support, even across competitive lines, is exactly what we aim to keep building through the Innovation Council. We’re excited to continue working with our Software Partner Innovation Council—and to launch additional councils across other parts of our business in 2020, including one for property managers.
If you’re interested in becoming a council member, stay tuned. We’ll be sharing more information in early 2020 about how to apply. Meanwhile, thanks to our software partners for making Dubrovnik such a success (and so much fun). Here’s to keeping the conversation going.