We spoke to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky after his talk onstage at the GigaOM Roadmap conference — during the talk Chesky spoke about many possible avenues for the company’s expansion but didn’t commit himself to any one path.
Instead Chesky held that what users want is one of the most important factors in deciding where the company focused their efforts. For example, two months ago a critical mass people wanted to stay in Airbnbs for longer than a week, according to Chesky, so the company launched ‘Sublets.‘ Right now the company has about 300 boats, and Chesky says he’s looking into that as a space. “We look to our community and try to figure out what’s already popular there for cues as to where to go next,” he said.
Chesky also revealed that a majority of the company’s business is outside the United States, and that Hong Kong is currently one of the highest demand, highest occupancy cities — Thus Chesky plans on using Hong Kong as a base for the company’s Asian expansion.
“The office is the laboratory and meeting your users is like going into the field. You can’t just stay in the lab. And it’s not just asking users what they want, it’s about seeing what they’re doing,” Chesky said, “When you bought an iPod, Steve Jobs didn’t come over and sleep on your couch. But I did,” presumably meaning that he actually uses Airbnb not that he literally came over when you bought an iPod.