Airbnb

Info

Founded in 2008
Based in San Francisco, California, USA
Industry: Hospitality
Total funding: over $3b
Airbnb is an online community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book accommodations around the world.

Challenge

In 2011, Airbnb was facing a competition from two Germany-based copycats: Wimdu & 9flats. Wimdu quickly hired 300+ people across Europe and opened 9 offices.

Airbnb was looking to establish local operations and expand to European markets.

Airbnb acquired Hamburg-based Accoleo in June 2011, which Georg Bauser, one of Expansion Partner’s Managing Directors, co-founded in 2010.

Approach

In its early stages of European expansion, Airbnb focused on the German market, including supply acquisition, community, and demand marketing. Christopher and Georg were leading strategic planning for European expansion. In 2011 the team ran a pilot program out of the company’s Berlin office to test sales and account management in five key markets: Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy and France.

Based on the results of the pilot project, between December 2011 and February 2012 Christopher and Georg managed the launch of 8 European offices and hired 75+ people. Airbnb was operating without a dedicated HQ and centralized processes in Europe.

Acting on the need for consolidated European operations, in 2013 Georg was tasked with establishing Airbnb EU HQ in Dublin from start to finish in 1 year. Meanwhile, Christopher assumed the role of General Manager for Central Europe.

Both Christopher and Georg spent over 4 years at Airbnb.

Result

Airbnb made a big commitment towards Europe and understood early how big Europe’s potential for the company is. It established lean local operations and a focused HQ in Dublin. Today Airbnb is the global leader in hospitality with Europe being its biggest market.