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Airbnb is buying HotelTonight

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Airbnb is 

    Hello guest!
 HotelTonight, the last-minute booking service you use when your friend says you can’t crash because her “roommate is sick.” You don’t even have a roommate, Janet.

The financial terms weren’t disclosed, but HotelTonight was 

    Hello guest!
 at $463 million when it last raised money in 2017. That would make it Airbnb’s largest acqusition ever.

The strategy behind the deal

Airbnb, the disruptor du jour in the hospitality industry, is on a quest to become an “end-to-end travel platform,” jargon for “we want to control every aspect of your travel experience.” So how does HotelTonight fit in?

  • It adds more hotel inventory to complement Airbnb’s bread and butter: short-term home rentals.
  • That kind of inventory is in demand: The company 
      Hello guest!
     that in 2018 it more than doubled the number of rooms on properties hosts can categorize as “boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other hospitality venues like hostels and resorts.”

What’s next for Airbnb

Like any private company valued at $31 billion, you’re going to start getting questions about an IPO. That’ll 

    Hello guest!
 at some point in the next year or two, but Airbnb is in no rush to go public like Uber and Lyft. Something else it doesn’t have in common with those two? It’s been 
    Hello guest!
 for the last two years.  

Right now, it appears Airbnb’s aim is to build an “expansion narrative,” as 

    Hello guest!
. That means showing investors it can become that end-to-end travel platform with initiatives including…

  • Airbnb Experiences: “Activities designed and led by inspiring locals”
  • Airbnb Plus: A hotel-like service
  • Transportation: Still unclear, but Airbnb 
      Hello guest!
     the founding CEO of Virgin America to be its first-ever global head of transportation

A final note about competition...it’s intense. Booking Holdings and Expedia Group (with a combined market cap of close to $100 billion) don’t need any “expansion narratives” to quickly counter Airbnb’s moves.

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