What Happened to Airbnb?

Financially, the sharing economy darling is thriving, but guests, hosts, and cities have had enough. “When Airbnb rolled out, everybody thought it was going to kill hotels, and it really just became hotels.”

Airbnb knows people are unhappy. Its CEO, Brian Chesky, has acknowledged the “tens of thousands” of complaints across social media about the platform’s growing costliness. It knows that hosts’ expenses — like home insurance, property taxes, and the cost of labor for cleaning and maintenance — have climbed amid a period of high inflation. The internet is strewn with complaints of pictures that don’t match the actual property, extreme demands and rules from hosts, hidden cameras, reservations getting unceremoniously canceled, and more. And several cities are aiming to regulate short-term rentals, even setting down a de facto ban on them, as New York, one of the biggest Airbnb markets in the US, did in September.

Yet Airbnb, which launched in 2008, is also making more money than ever. Bookings reached an all-time high earlier this year, and the company raked in almost $2 billion in profits in 2022, marking its first full profitable year. Airbnb’s stock price is also up dramatically from where it was at the end of last year.

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