Airbnb Restructures to Grow Business Beyond Home Rentals

As Airbnb has diversified into new businesses like luxury home rentals and travel tours, the company’s organizational structure has begun to show the strain, say current and former employees. Reporting chains seemed muddled while information flowed slowly across product teams. CEO Brian Chesky turned to executives from Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon for advice on how to better organize the company.

Those conversations led to a shake-up inside Airbnb in recent weeks. The company gave more decision-making power to its groups developing its newer businesses in China, luxury homes and other travel tours and experiences. While these businesses only generate a small portion of revenue, they’re increasingly important to the company’s growth hopes. One big inspiration for Mr. Chesky was Amazon, which gives teams focused on different business verticals separate reporting chains, say people who have spoken with him.

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It’s unclear whether Trips has succeeded so far. Mr. Chesky and Mr. Zadeh have obsessed over the development of the product for three years, people at the company say. Since the November launch, the company has shifted some marketing of the product to focus less on expensive, immersive experiences for travelers and more on cheaper things for locals to do in their own city. Airbnb has given Trips lots of exposure, filling the home screen of its app and website with the offerings.

Eric X and John Danner commented on this article.
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Teams focused on building out Airbnb’s slate of tours and experiences couldn’t launch new features quickly while it reported into the short-term rentals group.