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Darren was one of the first employees to join Airbnb in the APAC region. He joined the company in 2012 when the company opened the first office where he was responsible for opening new destinations in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. Darren was then promoted to lead recruiting and onboarding hosts where he led the supply side to grow from 5,000 to 200,000 hosts. Read moreView Profile Page
I think from a product, from a website point of view, it was about making that as simple and as seamless as possible. Really about eliminating as many steps as you can. Getting that process to be streamlined and easy to use. Ultimately, that was one of the biggest things. It made Airbnb successful in the growth in the early days. We needed to have people’s parents or grandparents to be able to do this. It wouldn’t have worked too well if it was just too much friction in the process and people were just struggling and dropped off. Then Airbnb did build a world-class customer service team to support people as much as they needed. The jobs of folks, whether they’re in marketing or PR or operations and so on locally as really about how we drive more people and drive more people to Airbnb and get them started. Then the product and the services that were offered really did the rest. A good example as well that helped facilitate that. Airbnb knew that photos really were probably the most important thing on a listing, maybe outside of pricing.
One of the most important. One of the very early programs that were launched was sending out a professional photographer to your house and actually doing the photos for you. Then that person would go back, they would do some edits and so on, it would get uploaded automatically to your website. The host doesn’t really have to do anything other than be there and be present and have the place ready for the photos. I think offering those kinds of services just helped in terms of getting people over the line and getting people over those initial hurdles. Certainly, there’s a bit of work in setting a listing up and so on. At the same time, you don’t want to make it too easy. Again, you don’t want just 100 people to come through not really caring about it and just put up a bad listing. You want them to be serious about it. Put in the work. Put in the effort. Ultimately, that’s the thing that’s going to drive more bookings for themselves. It is up to them to ensure those great guest stays, as well.