Airbnb announced their official iPhone app yesterday and it is truly amazing. We often see rushed apps from startups hit the App Store with only a few basic features. Not Airbnb. They’ve released a fully functional, beautifully designed app.
In case you missed this startup and its explosive growth into 8,000 cities and 170 countries, let me fill you in. Airbnb provides a service for normal people to rent out a couch, bed, room, apartment, house, mansion, island, and other unique vacation experiences to travelers who are searching for cheap rates outside of the usual vacation options. This startup has received both praise for allowing people to make extra money with unused space in difficult financial times, and harsh criticism for potentially disrupting the hotel industry. According to the New York Times, there are currently over 50,000 listings worldwide, and 700,000 nights have been booked in the company’s short history.
The main features of Airbnb’s iPhone app are:
- Sign up for an account on the go
- Search for and book accommodations near you using the “Help! I need a place, tonight!” option
- See the latest deal — imagine Groupon for renting houses
- Communicate with hosts
- Schedule your listing’s availability (for hosts)
- Browse collections of listings in major cities (L.A., New York, Berlin, Barcelona, etc.) or by theme (beach, romance, luxury, etc.)
The only drawback is you must use Airbnb’s website to set up your account if you want to become a host. Once that process is complete, the rest of your activity can be conducted using the new app.
In addition to Airbnb’s app launch, the company also announced a new funding round of $7.2 million with some major VC firms to continue growing the team and feature set. You can read about Airbnb’s history, or, if you are truly impressed by the app’s design, I recommend reading about it on Quora.