Free homes for Hurricane Florence evacuees + 4 other Airbnb initiatives you probably didn’t know about


We all know that in a few short years, Airbnb has transformed the home rental and travel landscape dramatically — becoming a beacon of success in the service and hospitality industries.

The $31-billion company started in 2007 when its two co-founders advertised a night on an air mattress and breakfast in the morning (“Air Bed & Breakfast”) to attendees of a design conference in San Francisco.

Since then the company has grown to hosting more than 40 million guests in nearly 200 countries. And now with the home-sharing industry booming, the San Francisco-based company has ventured into other areas with new offerings that you may not know about.

Not just homes: 5 initiatives Airbnb is involved in that you probably didn’t know

Disaster Response Program

As the company did in September 2017 when Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Airbnb’s Disaster Response Program has been activated for Hurricane Florence. The program’s Open Homes initiative provides free, short-term housing for people fleeing the storm.

Last year, the program hosted families fleeing the Northern California wildfires, as well as those displaced by the recent earthquake in Mexico and the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

In-app restaurant reservations

Capitalizing on its home-sharing guests’ penchant to eat out, Airbnb launched a service earlier this month to allow users to discover and book restaurants directly from the Airbnb app and website. The restaurant reservations, powered by booking site Resy, are available in 16 top dining cities across the United States.

The reservation service has access to more than  1.6 million registered users and 25 million diners, Airbnb said.

Here’s what the company had to say about one of its top restaurant reservation cities:

“This new partnership is an extension of our commitment to the business community and will help drive Airbnb guests to more restaurants across Atlanta,” Will Burns, public policy director for Airbnb, said in a news release. “Airbnb hosts and guests pride themselves on supporting local restaurants and cafes as great venues to meet up with neighbors and other travelers, and experience Atlanta’s diverse food culture.”


Airbnb Friendly Buildings Program

To the chagrin of the apartment industry, Airbnb is also getting into the landlord business. The Airbnb Friendly Buildings Program recently launched in select cities, allowing apartment renters and leasees to basically sublease their dwellings to Airbnb renters.

To take part in the program, an apartment tenant and landlord must sign an agreement or ” lease addendum” that gives expressed consent to use the apartment on Airbnb and that no one will be evicted for doing so as long as they abide by the terms.

Additionally, the company is teaming up with a Florida-based developer on building Airbnb-branded apartments, Bloomberg reports.

Engineering ‘Airtern’ Program

Like other tech companies, Airbnb is always trying to stay a step ahead of the competition (vacation rental firm Vacasa just raised $103 million). To that end, the home-sharing company has a three-month intern program that caters to new engineering professionals.

“During your twelve weeks as an engineering Airtern, you’ll be integrated into a team where you’ll write and ship challenging projects to develop new features on our platform, strengthen our infrastructure, and delight our community of guests and host,” the company says on its website.

Airbnb co-working spaces? Yaaas!

So, now we have lodgings (check), places to eat (check), but what about places to work?

Earlier this month, Airbnb announced that it was going to partner with popular co-working space WeWork to allow business travelers to reserve office accommodations while they’re out of the town. The pilot program began in six cities, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, New York, Sydney and Washington, according to Bloomberg.

The fact that all of these initiatives have been started or expanded just recently shows that Airbnb’s foothold in the service economy is just beginning. Did we miss an Airbnb initiative that you’re excited about? Share it with us in the comments.

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