The popularity of sharing economy start-ups – including Lyft, the ride-sharing app, and TaskRabbit, a platform for hiring casual labour – has exploded in recent years, as has the venture capital flowing into them.
But now, said Nate Blecharczyk, Airbnb's co-founder and chief technical officer, the start-up was looking beyond its roots.
The focus is figuring out how to use the service to sell other products to its millions of users in nearly 200 countries.
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"Bottom line, it could eventually be anything, whether you want to book a dinner reservation or plane tickets or whatever we can take your money . . . and we can route it appropriately," said Mr Blecharczyk. "It's definitely something we're actively working on."
Ultimately, said Mr Blecharczyk, it wanted to offer those who used its service to rent strangers' homes, or flats, or in some cases igloos, "the convenience that you might expect of a hotel".
The move into value-added services also comes as the company is fighting legal challenges to its core business, from landlords evicting renters whose leases or zoning codes bar them from sublets and from cities who argue the company should be taxed as are traditional hotels.