SFSW16: Airbnb Posits Itself as Hyperlocal’s New Face

Airbnb is focusing on posting hyperlocal information as part of its mission to add value and interest in its far-flung listing network. Roughly 75% of its 2.4 million listings in 340,000 cities are located outside of traditional urban centers.

North American Regional Operations head Aaron Zifkin, speaking this week at StreetFight Summit West in San Francisco, said the company is focused on expanding its guidebooks. “We try to get all the information that is useful for everyone who is travelling,” said Zifkin.

Top topics for the guidebooks include restaurants, performances, parks and trails to appeal to everyone from foodies to joggers. Airbnb is culling the information in partnerships with local chambers of commerce and downtown business development districts, along with hosts and other sources.

One of its most ambitious efforts was with the local government in Brooklyn. Airbnb estimates it has added over $200 million to the local economy.

It is a persuasive argument, but there is, of course, also a political angle here. While the company has vowed to collect local taxes, it is facing real pressure from the hospitality industry and local politicians on its alleged tax drain and overall impact on the tourism infrastructure.

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