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Report: Airbnb plans to enter flight-booking arena

December 22, 2016 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Airbnb, probably the greatest disruptor ever to enter the short-term accommodation booking sphere, is now looking to do something similar in the flight-booking market.  

Airbnb is seeking to enter the airline reservation sector possibly by buying an online travel agency (OTA), according to a report by Bloomberg.

The report, which is causing ripples in the US, cited unnamed sources within Airbnb, saying the firm’s plans are still being finalised and the decision on whether to acquire an OTA outright, or simply to license the booking data, has yet to be made.

Engadget.com refers to reports that Airbnb’s coming airline booking initiative would operate separately from Airbnb Trips, which launched last month and offers tours, restaurant reservations and other travel services.

Skift.com points out that Airbnb has plenty of cash, having settled on a simple but effective business model: it charges guests between 6% and 12% of the total booking cost before returning 97% of the reservation subtotal back to the hosts. Airbnb thus charges the hosts 3% of the value of the rental – and its vast turnover worldwide does the rest.

Just like a similar “sharing economy” disruptor, the taxi service Uber, Airbnb has created a lot of friction with existing operators and authorities in the places where it operates. Airbnb has recently settled or dropped lawsuits with New York, Amsterdam New Orleans and San Francisco, as the cities sought to curb its business operations or model.

Written by Peter Needham

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