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Is Airbnb worth $20B dollars?

Why I think Airbnb is worth more than traditional hotel chains

A lot of people ask about the sky-high valuation of Airbnb and if such a company is worth so much.  I've worked at Airbnb before and I am going to invest heavily in Airbnb and here's three reasons why. 
Much of the debate has been poised around the question of Airbnb can be worth more than traditional hotel chains such as Marriot, Hilton and IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group).
Here's my input. 3 reasons why Airbnb is worth every bit of it's valuation. 
  • Airbnb has a stronger business model than any hotel.
  • Airbnb is growing faster than any hotel group with increasing potential.
  • Airbnb is set to become a monopoly in the home-sharing business.
First. Airbnb's business model is less like a hotel and more like an online travel agency. It shouldn't be compared with hotels but with the likes of Expedia/Booking.com/ Agoda. The online agency model is very robust, it has tons of upside, almost no downside. Although a lot of hotel brands have gone asset-less in recent history, they're pegged to long-term contracts with property owners/labor/suppliers that can affect profitability. Their marginal costs for adding more room inventory are also a few orders of magnitude higher than Airbnb. 
Airbnb doesn't really 'cost' that much to run as a company. A huge portion of the budget is spent on online advertising, and customer service in order to support growth.  Even if the travel industry tanks, what's the cost of a server time, a few hundred engineers, customer support, compared to the echelons of staff employed in normal hotel chains?
Second. Airbnb has grown from 400 listings 7 years ago to over 1,000,000 now, and continues to grow. That's 2500 times growth and is a big signal of a new consumer behaviour.
Third. Airbnb is leading the home-sharing industry. It's set to become a virtual monopoly in this space. Think of the Priceline Group for non-traditional lodging. No hotel has this kind of position in the hospitality industry.
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