» travelLandon Howell | A blog about startup marketing

Brian Chesky’s incredibly transparent interview
posted on Apr 23 2020

Brian Chesky, Airbnb Co-Founder & CEO, gave an interview with Masters of Scale who has launched the new podcast Rapid Response in the wake of COVID-19. The conversation was an incredibly transparent breakdown of what took place over the span of 3 weeks from mid-March to early-April, 2020. You can read the transcript here.

“One of the most important things for me was to be optimistic. I had to carry this balance of being honest about how bad it was — and it was really bad — with this spirit of optimism, because as a leader what most people look to me to understand, if things were going to be okay. And if I was completely freaked out, they would be completely freaked out.”

  • The first week of March, Airbnb was preparing to go public.
  • They were also planning a major launch, scheduled for June 4. (Unclear if those two are related.)
  • Airbnb had more than $1B in reservations that guests wanted to cancel. Until the job is completed, that money is still considered the guests’.
  • 50% of Airbnb hosts depend on the service to pay their rent or mortgage.
  • Airbnb allocated $250M of its own money to hosts to cover a portion of the cancellation fees.
  • Airbnb voluntarily employees donated over $1M worth of travel coupons/credit to hosts. (Travel credits are a perk given to employees for use on the service.) Airbnb leadership added another $9M to that number, then formed a Relief Fund for “super hosts.”
  • Airbnb was able to mobilize hosts who implored Congresspeople to include hosts in the CARES Act.
  • They created Frontline Stays for essential personnel, which now has more than 100K locations. Chesky put in $2M of his own money.
  • Raised $1B from Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners.
  • “The emotions you have are contagious, and if I was optimistic and said ‘We’re going to get through this,’ and said, ‘You know what, we’re going to be better because of this. In every crisis is an opportunity to make you stronger. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Everything bad that ever happened to me, I learned from.’ Well, that’s what this is going to be.”
  • Airbnb was cash flow-positive in 2016 through 2019.
  • Airbnb hosts have now earned $100 billion dollars.
  • Airbnb hosts have hosted 750 million guest arrivals.
  • Airbnb now has 4 million hosts.

  • Public Transportation Ridership in the Age of Coronavirus
    posted on Apr 23 2020

<p><a href=Moovit Public Transit Index is analyzing the impact of Coronavirus on public transportation ridership, relative to the typical usage before the outbreak began.

    I was surprised by the top three, but I assume that NYC/New Jersey is seeing a smaller drop — though still a massive drop — due to the inherent dependency on public transportation compared to other markets.

    • San Francisco/San Jose: -80.7%
    • Seattle/Tacoma: -79.2%
    • Boston: -77.5%
    • NYC, New York/New Jersey: -75%
    • Miami: 74.4%
    • D.C./Baltimore: -71.8%
    • Chicago: -70.9%
    • Los Angeles: -68.9%
    • Philadelphia: -58.9%
    • Others: -68.7%

    Southwest Airlines… ‘Just Plane Fun’
    posted on Feb 6 2013

    Some swell tips for using your electronics
    posted on Apr 12 2012

    How To Use Your Electronics During Takeoff Without Getting Busted

    If you were cruising a cabin for people listening to music, and saw a passenger with a pair of headphones folded neatly on his lap—unplugged cord in full view—you would naturally assume he wasn’t wearing his headphones, right? You would. And you’d be wrong. Because that guy is me, and I travel with two pairs of headphones: A set of cans carried mostly as a ruse (though it is nice to give the ear canal a break and switch up ‘phones on long flights), and a couple of earbuds whispering sweet nothings into my ears under my hoodie during takeoff.

    2011 Travel
    posted on Dec 31 2011

    Back for another year end wrap=up of travel. Years past are…

  • 2010
  • 2009
  • These are places that are a destination, not a “driving through” or “changing planes” visit.

  • No new states visited. I still stand at 47, with no sign that Alaska, Hawai’i, and North Dakota will be visited anytime soon.
  • No new countries visited, though going back to The Netherlands reminded me that I will have to move to The Netherlands one day and travel Europe on a monthly basis.
  • Most memorable trips include our 9 days in Europe, our weeks’ cruise to The Bahamas, and the 2-day Southern Miss Extravaganza in Houston, and a very classy (seriously) Las Vegas wedding.
  • Total states: 9
    Total countries: 4

    *Denotes a first time visit.

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Asheville, North Carolina*
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Auburn, Alabama
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Bruges, Belgium
    Brussels, Belgium
    Hattiesburg, Mississippi
    Houston, Texas
    Jackson, Mississippi
    Jacksonville, Florida*
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Menlo Park, California
    Monterey, California
    Nassau, The Bahamas
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Oakland, California*
    Orange Beach, Alabama
    Palo Alto, California
    Paris, France
    Pebble Beach, California
    Perdido Key, Florida
    Sacramento, California
    San Francisco, California
    San Jose, California*
    Santa Clara, California*
    Stanford, California*
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama

    Me, eating a corn dog, at LSU Tiger Stadium. Your argument is irrelevant.
    posted on Oct 25 2011

    “Oh no! Don’t go in there!”
    posted on Jul 10 2011

    Got a little sentimental today when I was reminded that Monster Plantation was renamed Monster Mansion in 2009.

    A morning of dot-com bliss
    posted on Apr 4 2011

    Daxko was a partner at the CalSAE conference in Monterey, California. Nick (Daxko Connect’s product expert) and I spent Saturday morning driving around Silicon Valley on the hunt for some of our favorite dot-coms, Facebook and Google being the main interest.

    Sweet Moses, it was perfect.

    I’ve driven through Mountain View, Cupertino, Palo Alto, before, but that was long before the web fully took shape.

    First, much looks just like any other town you’ve visited. Strip malls and office parks, all of which are unassuming until you see ‘Loopt’ or ‘LinkedIn’ on the side of the building.

    Second, you drive past Facebook and never know you passed anything special. We did. Twice.

    Third, you cannot drive past Google without knowing you passed anything special. There are signs of the Googleplex long before you reach the main building. ‘Google St’ for example is a not so subtle sign.

    On the road again
    posted on Mar 28 2011

    6,112 miles flown in the last two weeks, and not an In-N-Out burger to show for it (though I’ll change that by the end of the week… at least once).

    LAX is my favorite. Always LAX.

    Learning to travel better
    posted on Mar 14 2011

    I’ll be traveling more than normal in 2011, therefore I’m doing my darndest to travel better.

    “Better” is defined as:
    – lighter suitcase
    – smaller suitcase
    – faster through security
    – faster at packing
    – faster at repacking
    – activity learning and practicing airport security tips/tricks

    Sound cheesy? I agree… until one has to get from DFW’s Terminal A to Terminal E in 16 minutes.

    To assist in my efforts I’ve been reading up on what others have to say about the ins and outs of business and personal travel.

    One of my particular favorites was this blog post, and the following snippets.

    I am very minimal when I travel.
    I never check luggage. I refuse to check luggage. I look down at people who check luggage. When I get on the plane I have a backpack with my laptop and a carry-on—that’s it.

    If you’re going to check luggage…
    you basically should just get back in your car, go home and not fly anywhere.


    When you fly: don’t wear sweatpants.
    Wearing sweatpants on a plane is like wearing a fanny-pack walking around Paris. It’s pretty much the same thing.


    I was on a plane once that lost all cabin pressure.
    We had to make an emergency landing in Buffalo. My nose started bleeding because there was no air-pressure…and then we realized that the only thing worse than crashing and dying was landing in Buffalo.


    One time I sat on a plane next to Britney Spears’ mom.
    That was hilarious. We talked about Britney for two and a half hours.