Inside Airbnb

Well, I have a new dream job to fantasize over! I had the privilege of touring the Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco through their Social Impact Experiences and needless to say, I’m hooked. Not only did I get to learn more about such a young and thriving company, but my attendance supported Girls in Tech, the nonprofit our guide chose to donate the enrollment fee to!

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The tour itself consisted of 5 visitors and was led by an Airbnb employee, so it was truly an insider experience. We toured parts of the office building, heard the history and how the company has developed and changed over time, then concluded with an Q&A session while being treated to lunch in their “Eatrium”!

* we were asked to kindly refrain from taking photos in the work space, seeing as employees are at work and not a zoo, so I apologize for the limited material!

Oh gosh, where do I even begin. I guess for starters they’re a dog-friendly work space, so there’s happy puppy smiles everywhere! Upon entering, the lobby is a huge, open work space with natural lighting from the ceiling windows and a living wall providing a fresh, lively feel.

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Because the business is based around their hosts, they feature portraits of them with bios all around the office space as a way to recognize the “invisible partner” that they are to Airbnb! Among those portraits are three in a row of the first three guests (I highly recommend looking through this article on the company’s history if you want more details!).

Another way Airbnb represents and markets their hosts and homes is by replicating some of their most iconic spaces! Meeting rooms and work areas are customized to replicate a rustic loft in Brooklyn, sleek cafe in Buenos Aries and even an airstream trailer in Australia! They have such a connection and dedication to their hosts, it’s amazing.

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^ all those segmented work rooms are designed after different host’s homes, all around the world!

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^

They also have a wall featuring all of their employees (before they ran out of room), encouraging a strong sense of community in their office and general life motto!

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For the Eatrium, employees are encouraged to dine in-house with a special menu designed by a nutritionist! 3 meals are served each weekday, with beer and wine available after 4pm. In an effort to minimize waste and support local vendors, the food is locally-sourced, dishes are all washable and to remove can/bottle waste they switched all (40ish) drinks on to a tap system!

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As far as work life and company morale go– whoa.

Employees are asked to participate in bi-annual reviews, where they have the freedom to say what works and doesn’t work for them as well as make suggestions. Forgotten by no one, employees work spaces are decorated with big metallic balloons that number off what anniversary they are celebrating with Airbnb!

The building itself wholeheartedly reflects Airbnb’s 3 co-founders– who originally went to design school. There are no exclusive offices for senior positions, so everyone works in the same general space and are accessible to each other. Employees are welcome and even encouraged to bring visitors for meals, making it a very open and welcoming atmosphere.

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Another interesting little side note: when Cuba was preparing to reopen relations with the United States, Airbnb had a team in Havana, helping close to 1,000 hosts prepare for the impending influx of visitors. Such an overlooked story really reflects the company’s appreciation for authentic travel and assisting both the local and the tourist.

And on that note, I’m off to beef up my resume!

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