The future of Airbnb lies in creating memorable guest experiences, and brands will benefit by complementing these experiences in relevant, valuable ways.
Since attending Airbnb Open in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, I’ve been contemplating what Airbnb’s announcements around shifting toward experiential hosting mean for both guests and corporations. Guests will find authentic travel experiences that complement their hospitality choices, while corporations will find opportunities to partner with Airbnb and sponsor these entertainment and cultural adventures.
During the event, executives from Airbnb revealed a few interesting data points:
- The average business traveler stays at an Airbnb for six nights
- The average Airbnb host makes $7,530 per year
- Travel spending is nearly 10% of global GDP ($7.2B)
- Airbnb had 40M guest stays in 2015 (see graph below), in 34K cities in 191 countries
With guests staying for nearly a week at their hosts’ abodes, many are looking for immersive experiences in the local scene––activities and sights that can’t be booked through a travel agent or seen from a tour bus. There are already more than 600 experiences available to travelers through Airbnb! The company is also experimenting with on-demand car delivery for off-the-beaten-path travel, as well as prepared food delivery.
What does this mean to you? Corporations have the opportunity to connect directly with tastemakers around the world, inserting their brands and products into diverse experiences with lasting impact. Let’s explore a few of the potential industry opportunities:
- Consumer Goods: Airbnb is the world’s largest showroom, with the goods in hosts’ homes used to influence buyers as the level of trust between guest and host are high.
- Retailers: These new “experiences” mean that local retailers will be visited in cities, led by the hosts and tour guides.
- Hospitality and Travel: For hotels, this new offering is about the entire trip, and they’ll soon offer flight deals and cars, in addition to experiences and homes.
- Food: Food will be delivered directly to Airbnb locations, and continued on-demand food models will become important.
- Finance: Hosts are generating a modest amount of income per year, but need money to upgrade their locations, an opportunity for small loans.
What does this mean for all companies? Today’s modern customer is seeking experiences, they show off using digital technologies, and access to physical goods is easy with on-demand models, rather than ownership of a house, car, electronics and more. Established companies need to revisit their strategy to provide customers with experiences that connect to the real meaning of why customers want platforms that enable new adventures and more.
Above: Mercedes Benz Autonomous Car
Two mega trends are coming together: The Collaborative Economy and the Autonomous World, which means shared mobility from self-driving cars.
Early this year, we published a research report on the Business Models of Self-Driving Cars, and we’ve presented our findings at a number of industry events. A commonly asked question is: “In the future, will we even own cars?” I want to share a few scenarios that are likely to emerge.
Today’s 3-year-old toddlers are unlikely to ever learn how to drive. With autonomous cars already making their debut now, and then en masse in 2021, per Ford and others, these toddlers are unlikely to require driving skills in the year 2031.
Here are four scenarios of car ownership that could play out:
- The on-demand model, a.k.a. “Uber/Lyft” model. In this model, autonomous cars would be like a “utility” where most don’t own them, certainly in cities; they are summoned on demand. John Zimmer, the CEO of Lyft, put forth a visionary piece where most city dwellers do not own cars in cities by the year 2025. Uber’s executives paint a future where mobility is like any other utility, where at a “twist of the tap,” mobility can flow out of a nozzle. In urban areas, home garages could be converted to living space (or Airbnb rentals), and large multi-story garages could be converted to green spaces.
- The shared car model, a.k.a. “Zipcar” model. A group of cars are available in a convenient regional area, where many can share and own these cars. For example, some progressive apartments now have shared vehicles in their garage for renters. In this model, a group of neighbors could invest in the commonly owned costs of these cars, and share insurance, car ownership, and maintenance costs. We’ve seen a growth in P2P insurance models, which could further enable this market.
- The wholly owned model, akin to current ownership. Just as we currently own most vehicles, we could continue to own vehicles in the future, but they will self-drive. This makes the most sense in rural areas and, to some degree, in suburban areas. Some people with families that have specific car seat or mobility needs (the elderly, those with wheelchairs, etc.) may require their own self-driving vehicles. Others we have spoken to suggest that human-driven cars will only be owned by the very rich — or very poor — similar to how horses are owned today.
- Autonomous cars own themselves. Also called a distributed autonomous organization (DAO), self-driving cars could become sentient creatures in the radical future that can not only self-drive and self-charge, but also then take themselves to be repaired at a local garage, and pay for it on their ownership. In this future, the excess profits generated from these self-driving cars would enable them to purchase an additional vehicle, expanding themselves from one car to eventually a fleet. All of this, in theory, could occur without human intervention and without human ownership.
In the end, there won’t be one single model. We’ll likely see a mixture occurring, just as we see this occurring now. Below, the models are broken out into a grid.
Matrix: Scenarios of Future Car Ownership
||Who’s Likely to Adopt
||Who Will Own
||Urban areas will embrace
||Uber, Lyft, car manufacturers
||Urban areas, suburban
||Enterprise, Avis, private owners offering cars on Getaround, Turo
|Wholly Owned Car
||Wealthy, young families, special care
|Autonomous Cars Own Themselves
||An advanced artificial intelligence that can self-manage a fleet
||Cars will own themselves
||Computer-owned “corporation,” an undefined model, or a nonprofit akin to Wikipedia
Above: Tesla’s Autonomous Car
Tesla showed its hand by prohibiting customers from sharing.
Recently, Tesla made an unusual mandate, that its own customers cannot enable their privately purchased self-driving Teslas to be listed on Uber or Lyft. This is a strange mandate considering the cars were purchased outright. It, of course, forebodes a few future business models that we’ll see from Tesla; it’ll likely offer a service model where the owners, or Tesla themsleves enable their autonomous cars to be made available to others as a service.
When would human-driven cars become obsolete?
While Elon Musk suggests that manually driving a car may someday be illegal due to human error and safety reasons, such vehicles won’t go away anytime soon. There would be a significant economic bottom if so many owned assets were quickly depreciated by a government decree. But looking decades forward, when autonomous cars become dominant and common, we will see a social and perhaps government cry for human drivers to be curbed. Perhaps if it’s not illegal, the insurance costs of manually driving would become too high.
To summarize, autonomous vehicles will not only significantly impact how we will be transported, but also the very business models in which our economy operates and how cities will change.
Above: BMW’s Autonomous Concept Car
Facebook Joins the Collaborative Economy
Facebook has announced the launch of its Marketplace, a new feature in four countries that enables users to buy and sell their used goods using Facebook connections. While Facebook’s strongest advantage is a network of trusted users, it must develop more sophisticated features to compete against established players. But it has a good start, as the environmental benefits of Facebook Marketplace for helping individuals reuse goods rather than send them to the junk yard will be of particular help for many migrating students, new families, or those seeking to change up their personal items.
Market Timing: Existing Startups Under Fire
At a macro level, the startups in the Collaborative Economy Honeycomb are undergoing a shakeup as VC funding is being reduced, startups are being acquired, and regulators are putting the pressure on. The end result is that some startups are having to fold up shop. Facebook’s market entry is smart timing, as it can be a trusted player.
To the casual observer, it would be easy to compare Facebook Marketplace to established players like eBay, Yerdle, Nextdoor, Listia, or Taobao, but these players are far ahead of Marketplace. Marketplace could pose some threats to Craigslist local listings for users seeking to find people they may know, or listings from friends of friends. And the potential is huge; for scale, massive eBay has 164 million active users in Q2 2016, a far cry from Facebook’s 1.7 billion users in the same period.
Four Features Facebook Is Missing:
While Facebook offers a very strong trust graph of people you know in your area, Marketplace lacks a few key features, including:
- A payment system that enables digital transactions, similar to eBay using credit cards or PayPal.
- A guaranteed bidding system so the buyer doesn’t have to worry about getting the item.
- A shipping solution or meeting place (sometimes called a “sharespot”) to enable people to share goods, whether it be at local police stations or Amazon lockers.
- Lastly, there doesn’t appear to be a ratings or review feature so buyers and sellers can rate each other, especially if people don’t know them, to build further trust.
The Future for Marketplace
Facebook must improve its feature set, then move into ride and home sharing. An ideal next move would be for Facebook to tie in its Messenger payment system, enabling seamless transactions, and potentially move into more lucrative on-demand commerce systems like ride sharing, or perhaps even home sharing, thereby threatening Uber and Airbnb. By enabling the commerce aspect, not only does this make transactions easier for members, but Facebook will have yet another revenue stream. This isn’t an odd concept, as in China, Uber has sold off assets to Didi, which is owned by Tencent and Alibaba — companies that offer a wide range of Internet products. Yet before Facebook can move into new markets beyond used goods, it must first bolster those four missing features in order to prepare the platform.
Want more? Read my body of work on the Collaborative Economy, filled with data, slides, and more.
There are three topics that should be discussed as we forge the next economy: the Autonomous World, Silicon Valley feudalism, and ensuring human safety from advanced robots.
For the second year, I’ll be at Tim O’Reilly’s Next:Economy Conference in San Francisco on Oct. 10–11, which brings technology, the economy, and forward-thinking industry leaders together under one roof. These events set the tone for the impacts of technology on businesses, governments, societies, and global economies.
I see three red-hot challenges for the Next:Economy:
The Autonomous World. What role do humans play when robots do jobs better? This topic, which was discussed at the last Next:Economy, was a major theme –yet we’re nowhere near from settling it. Did you know the White House predicts that 83% of workers who make less than $20 an hour are likely to be replaced by robots? And it’s about a one-third replacement rate for those who make $21 to $40 an hour. We need continued dialog about solutions, including a combination of: upskilling, which will likely never catch up to robots because they will learn faster than humans ever can; and universal basic income or a guaranteed wage for all humans to offset the robots that will increase productivity and replace human jobs.
Is Silicon Valley creating global feudalism models? Economically, is this the best way forward? This topic, which I’ve tackled a few times in my own keynotes, is in response to the fact that Silicon Valley startups are owned by the 1% elite — who then create platforms for the rest of society to use. Who are these 1%? Are they benevolent dictators? Early risk-takers? Deserving capitalists? Folks who just got lucky? They’re likely a combination of all of the above, but the reality is that they’re becoming the most powerful group on the planet. For example, Mark Zuckerberg could, on a whim, place his thumb on the Facebook newsfeed and fill it with content and stories that veer to either the Left or Right points of view. Elon Musk has already developed powerful space programs that are starting to challenge public sector aerospace and are innovating quickly for future world exploration and transportation. These powerful entrepreneurs not only own and control the data and technology we use daily, but they are also able to fund the nonprofits of their choosing through incredible wealth that sometimes outmatches public sector spending.
To protect the human economy, should we have an “off” switch for computer intelligence? How do we influence, manage, or even control advanced robotics and artificial intelligence systems that will eventually become superior to human intellect? Should there be a standards board, a set of legislation, or even a security force that manages robots? Beyond the fears of most dystopian science fiction films, what can we do now to set the groundwork before these technologies are self-sufficient without human support. For example, scientists seek to create a system of checks and balances for advanced robots that ensure humans have fail safes, power-offs, and other security measures that could provide forms of safety. Today, technology is dependent on humans to be created, managed, and supported. Tomorrow, a new level of co-dependency will evolve. On the day after, advanced technology may be independent of human support — will we be ready for this future?
So there you have it: three distinct topics that are set to reshape the economy of the future. You can see the themes of technology overtaking human jobs, those who own these technologies, and ensuring we have balance points for safety. All these and other pressing issues will demand our top insights and ingenuity in order to prepare us all for the next phases of technology, business, government, society, and the economy.
(photo by Pexels)
Above Image: Crowd Companies has identified more than a dozen crowd-based insurance startups emerging from financial industry hotbeds like London, more will emerge from each region.
Crowd- and peer-based business models have impacted the hospitality industry, transportation space, financial sector, and other industries as indicated within the latest Collaborative Economy Honeycomb 3.0.
We’re now seeing the rise of a growing set of startups in the insurance industry that are enabling P2P, pro-rata coverage or crowd-based models that leverage the crowd. These emerging insurance tech startups include mostly peer-to-peer offerings, with a handful that are also improving the delivery of insurance through new technologies.
P2P insurance allows for more people to be insured by aiding underserved markets. It provides coverage for gig workers in the collaborative economy, while collective purchasing yields preferential pricing (or even funds returned) to those subscribed to peer-based insurance programs. With most of the emerging startups acting as brokers, the insurance carrier startups are still forthcoming in the insurance world. Lemonade is a clear example of this (though they’ve yet to launch).
There are several companies popping up for specialized insurance, too. From insuring cyclists to pet owners, and one––Bought By Many––that specializes in ‘long tail’ insurance. This means insure those items that aren’t often insured. Then, there’s Trōvthat provides ‘on-demand’ insurance, for those who want to insure in the moment by simply snapping a pic in the app, granting fast coverage. It’s coverage for when people seek access over ownership.
The map above of crowd-based insurance startups isn’t complete; there are more emerging, and we expect for each geographic region to develop their own capabilities. See the table below for additional details.
Sample of Crowd-Based Insurance Startups:
||On-demand visual inspection by a group of independent crowd workers
||On-demand protection for belongings – home, auto, personal property. Easy to turn on/off.
|Tong Ju Bao
||TongJuBao is a P2P insurance platform that helps its users manage risks. TongJuBao was developed by QiBao Investment Consulting (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, a WOFE (wholly owned foreign entity) and is ultimately controlled by its French founder, Tang Loaec. (CB Insights)
||P2P Insurance – Crowdfunding
||Group of freelancers crowdfunding each other’s sick leave
||P2P Insurance – Crowdfunding
||Join group, pay fee upfront, users decide if claims are fair and can get up to 5x your balance to cover claims. ‘Crowdfunded cover’
||Pay-Per-Mile Auto Insurance
||Metromile is a car insurance startup that offers pay-per-mile insurance and a driving app. It is currently the only company offering pay-per-mile insurance in the United States.
||P2P Insurance Broker
||CommonEasy is a peer-to-peer insurance platform that utilizes the power of the crowd to collectively insure and protect material possessions, homes, and livelihoods.
||P2P Insurance Broker
||Peer-to-peer risk sharing for property insurance, not currently launched.
||P2P Insurance Broker
||Pools users into small groups. Brokers with 60 insurance partners.
||P2P Insurance Broker
||Users form small groups for auto, motorcycle, and home insurance. Users pledge to cover up to a certain amount.
||P2P Insurance Broker – Auto
||Pools friends and acquaintances, or other small groups, for car insurance.
||P2P Insurance Broker – Business
||Business insurance shared across a group/community.
|Bought By Many
||P2P Insurance Broker – Long-Tail
||Works with insurers to develop policies and negotiate discounts for long-tail insurance needs like pet insurance, cyclist insurance, etc.
||P2P Ins Broker – Share Econ
||Develop insurance products and partner with sharing economy businesses to offer users and providers insurance solutions. Work to fill in the gaps of insurance for Sharing Economy providers and users.
||P2P Insurance Carrier – Cyclists
||Bike insurance shared over a small group. Insurance held by cycle syndicate.
||P2P Insurance Carrier
||Lemonade is peer-to-peer insurance and one of the only carriers, but they’ve yet to launch. Groups of policyholders pay premiums into a claims pool, and if money is left at the end of the policy period, they get refunds.
||P2P Insurance Carrier
||Uvamo, which plans to launch by the end of the year, aims to cut administrative costs by offering property and casualty insurance direct to consumers online. Those policies can then be diversified and grouped into a pool, which collects all the premiums paid by the policyholders. -CNBC
Above Image: a butterfly emerges after contracting in a cocoon.
You’ve probably read the article from Salon, with its sarcastic title and detailing of several failed on-demand, Collaborative Economy startups. A few people asked for my thoughts
First, our data shows that the Collaborative Economy movement is here to stay,. We see people increasingly adopting sharing behaviors , startups like Uber are profitable in the United States, and the UK government is offering a tax credit for people who participate in it. It’s not going away––but we do need to cull the herd.
Second, signs point to the fermented froth fizzing out as we enter Phase 4 of tech market maturation: Contraction…
The Collaborative Economy Market is Changing:
Too many damn startups are doing the same damn thing. Lisa Gansky’s massive directory of startups in this space tallies at a whopping 9,703 startups. In our latest Honeycomb 3.0, we reviewed 450 startups, but only about 250 made the cut. We found many startups doing the exact same thing as others, often in the same regional area! Take San Francisco’s recent valet app market, for example: there’s Zirx, Luxe, and Carbon all fighting for me to download their app so they can park my car in the city’s insane downtown area.
VC welfare strings are starting to tighten. The Salon article refers to investment funding as “VC welfare,” which gave me a chuckle.it’s true; this market has been funded plenty, as shown in our massive spreadsheet on funding. It indicates that, in previous years, there’s been a total of $28 billion in VC funding poured into this market. Why is this? VCs wanted to see market traction (even if the startups weren’t in the black), and they were hoping to fund the next “unicorn,” which there are dozens in this market. On my analysis post on VentureBeat, we found that much of the funding centralized last year on the billion dollar unicorns––although I’m expecting the rest of 2016 to soften on VC funding.
Startups are disappearing or consolidating. There have been quite a few companies that have fallen off the Collaborative Economy honeycomb, including Homejoy, Sidecar, TheStorefront, Zirtual, Spoonrocket, and others listed in the Salon article. With that said, there were acquisitions as the market merged, including: Blablacar acquired Carpooling.org, Expedia acquired HomeAway, Outerwall acquired Gazelle, and defunct Sidecar sold its assets to GM.
What it Means to Enter the Contraction Phase
This is normal, alike every tech cycle. I’ve been in Silicon Valley for nearly 20 years and have experienced three tech cycles: dotcom, social media/web 2.0, and now the Collaborative Economy. In each phase, we see the same patterns of market initiation, massive funding of clones, a shakeout, the consolidation, integration, and then maturation. The Gartner Hype cycle’s universal framework indicates we’re now near the “Trough of Disillusionment,” and preparing for the “Slope of Enlightenment” which suggests market maturity with fewer players.
Market consolidation means the leaders will get even more acceleration. The Honeycomb graphic, is our attempt at representing global startups in each sector, sorted by industry hexes. We had to prune out existing startups as some hexes like Transportation, Space, and Money were so crowded with clones, they wouldn’t all fit. Furthermore, as startups hit the deadpool, the remaining startups would gain even more acceleration as they can clinch more of the market––making it even more difficult for new entrants. If a startup is in the lead –they’re likely to stay in the lead.
The market is scrutinizing profitability of startups, as we enter this next phase. While investments are still occurring, the rate of heavy investments in 2015 seems to be slowing. In earlier market phases, startups were rewarded with large valuations for market adoption––but not measured on profitability or to get “in the black”. Now, the Collaborative Economy startups will need to make their balance sheets work in order to get closer to their gigantic valuations.
So what does the future hold?
Expect a Honeycomb with just about the same amount of hexes, but we’ll see less logos in each hex as the market weens off performance strugglers. Perhaps we’ll make the logos larger of the dominant players as these startups continue to integrate. They’re already integrating within city landscapes, brokering with governments and partnering with large corporations for business deals. Soon, we’ll be entering the next phase: Normalization.
(Image used with creative commons license from Morgan Schmorgan)