7 Things You Didn't Know About Airbnb

Airbnb house
credit: Airbnb

Airbnb, the immensely popular short-term lodging service, has grown tremendously since its founding in 2008. What was once an idea between roommates is now an economic giant, boastings more than 6 million listings around the world, ranging from beachfront villas to Paris flats to secluded escapes.

But the company doesn't want to stop there: Airbnb hopes to eventually be more than just where you book a place to sleep at night. In fact, it wants to become your total go-to site for travel, from booking your stay, to getting you there, to what to do in your free time. Here are some things you might not have known about the company:

1. There are hundreds of new listings every day

living room space
credit: Airbnb

If you thought Marriott was big, they've got nothing on Airbnb. Marriott currently has properties in 131 countries and territories, compared to Airbnb's 191 countries. Airbnb added more than a million listings between July 2018 and May 2019 alone. This marks a huge growth for the company. For reference: Airbnb hosted just 400 guests during its first year of business.

2. This is where the "air" comes from

bedroom
credit: Airbnb

Airbnb got its start when founder Brian Chesky and his roommates rented out a few air mattresses on the floor of their San Francisco apartment. Air Bed & Breakfast was born and later shortened to the name we all know today.

3. Listings are available in more than 100,000 cities

living room with colorful furniture
credit: Airbnb

It's not just New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. In fact, those cities account for less than 3% of all listings. Meanwhile, no single city accounts for more than 1% of listings worldwide. (Yerevan, Armenia, anyone?)

4. Smaller U.S. states boast huge numbers

two chairs on patio with . trees nearby
credit: Airbnb

It might seem surprising, but states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina are Airbnb hotspots. Iowa alone had nearly 70,000 hosts and guests over the last year!

5. The listings are truly unique

seashell house
credit: Airbnb

We love a good hotel room as much as the next person, but Airbnb listings span from the magical to the downright bizarre. The company says there are approximately 18,000 tiny houses listed on the platform, almost 5,000 castles, and more than 2,600 tree houses. We're swooning for this tiny treehouse outside of Atlanta! (Not to mention the World Famous Seashell House and the Mushroom Dome Cabin).

6. The company once sold cereal

kitchen
credit: Airbnb

In an effort to raise early funding, Airbnb sold repackaged boxes of cereal during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. "Obama O's" and "Cap'n McCain's" generated more than $30,000 in much-needed funds for the young start-up.

7. Airbnb goes by a different name in China

wall with shelf and ladder nearby and chinese characters with text above reading "good morning"
credit: Airbnb

While there are listings in China, Airbnb isn't called Airbnb there. In 2017, the company rebranded itself as Aibiying, which means "welcome each other with love."


Laura Ratliff

Laura Ratliff

Laura is a New York City-based freelance writer who writes about travel, food, and design. Her work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, GQ, Condé Nast Traveler, and more. She's a sucker for a good curbside furniture find.