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I’m working on a business discussion question and need an explanation to help me learn.

Airbnb: Disrupting the Hotel Industry

The opening ChapterCase discusses the founding of Airbnb in 2007. The founders originally started with providing places to sleep during big major events (SXSW and the 2008 Democratic National Convention). However, they did not have a sustainable business model until getting help through a Silicon Valley incubator. That experience prepared them to successfully enter the global hotel industry with their disruptive business model. In 2017 Airbnb was valued at $30 billion dollars even though still a private firm. This valuation is higher than the market capitalization value of Marriott, which is the world’s largest hotel chain. External forces such as regulation against short term rentals are creating problems for the Airbnb business growth.  

A one-minute commercial, “What is Airbnb?” is on YouTube.  

Available on YouTube is an ABC news story on the dark side of opening your home to strangers on Airbnb: “Airbnb Home Rental Nightmares (https://youtu.be/PfDAEF02tp0)” 

  1. Citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Airbnb is challenging the New York law and others in the United States, arguing that it merely operates a digital marketplace, and thus is not responsible for the content that users place on its site. Do you think Airbnb has a strong argument? Why or why not?
  2. Are you concerned that the concept of the sharing economy could be abused by unscrupulous “entrepreneurs” and thus give the entire novel concept a bad reputation?  Why or why not? Explain.

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