Already one of the most successful endeavors of the burgeoning access economy, Airbnb is poised to bring its hospitality marketplace to the next level by joining forces with one of the greatest minds in the industry – author and founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Chip Conley, who is coming on board as the company’s new Head of Global Hospitality.
In his 27 years in the industry, Conley has been a driving force of innovation – overseeing the creation and management of more than 50 boutique hotels across the country and winning numerous awards for both leadership and customer service. His books, Peak, Marketing That Matters, The Rebel Rules and Emotional Equations, touch on everything from daring to be yourself in business to channeling your emotions as a driving force for good.
As Head of General Hospitality, Conley will use his expertise to teach Airbnb hosts the beauty of outstanding customer service and provide a blueprint for consistent, yet personal experiences across the company’s network of more than 500,000 listings. The hotel guru’s first major initiatives include the creation of a Hospitality Lab in Dublin and the development of a training program for the Airbnb host community.
“I became a boutique hotelier because I wanted to shake up the conventional wisdom that – in order to offer quality – hospitality had to be conventional,” Conley said in a press release. “Nearly 30 years later, Airbnb is now on the forefront of a new type [of] innovation built from the same components: meaningful host connections, great design and local experiences.
“But, with over 35,000 cities in our network, Airbnb’s hospitality has the potential to impact cross-cultural understanding in a measurable, positive way on a global scale,” he continued. “That’s unprecedented.”
His unique perspective on business and love for the unconventional makes Conley a perfect match for Airbnb, and the move indicates that the company is making strides in directly competing with hotels for travelers’ dollars.
“Hospitality is at the very heart of what we do at Airbnb. When people think about the meaningful experiences they’ve had through Airbnb, their hosts’ warm welcome or thoughtful gestures are always at the core,” said Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb. “No one in the industry is better qualified than Chip to help our hosts redefine hospitality.”
Initially, Conley’s Hospitality Lab will develop an educational curriculum for Airbnb hosts, consisting of offline workshops, online webinars and hospitality tips. As hosts move through the program, the lab will share success stories and best practices with the rest of the host community – creating a progressive model that is community-driven, scalable and intensely local.
The move is clearly bullish for the company and the access economy at-large, and with 8.5 million guests and counting, Airbnb will surely remain a name to watch in the growing trend of collaborative consumption.
Image credit: Chip Conley headshot via www.emotionalequations.com
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Mary also contributes to Earth911; her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter@mary_mazzoni.