Airbnb just hired an aviation veteran to its C-suite — and a brand expert says this signals Airbnb is going to start offering you bundled travel packages

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  • Airbnb just
    hired aviation industry veteran Fred Reid to a newly-created role
    at the company: Global Head of Transportation.
  • Reid was the founding CEO at Virgin America and joins Airbnb
    from his previous position at the president of Kitty Hawk’s
    air taxi venture.
  • A brand expert said the hire signals Airbnb’s interest in
    building package deals to its consumers — a venture that’s likely
    to be successful. 

Airbnb’s
latest hire
is in a role that didn’t exist before this year —
global head of transportation. 

Aviation industry veteran Fred Reid is filling the role, leaving
his previous position at the president of Kitty Hawk’s Cora Aircraft Program, an air taxi
venture. Before that, Reid was the founding CEO at Virgin America
and the president of Bombardier’s Flexjet. 

The hire might not register for folks who know of Airbnb as a
marketplace for short-term rentals and hospitality
experiences. Reid, instead, is positioned to help Airbnb’s next
venture in the travel industry. 

“Whether in the air or on the ground, there are tremendous
opportunities to create products and forge partnerships with other
companies that make travel easier and even fun,” Reid said
in an Airbnb statement
. “Realizing those opportunities will
take years and require constant experimentation, and I’m truly
honored to have the chance to take on such an audacious challenge
with this team.”

In other words, Airbnb is likely going to start offering bundled
travel packages. 

fred_reid_headshot

Brand expert Dipanjan
Chatterjee
, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester,
told Business Insider that it’s a deeply lucrative opportunity for
Airbnb.

“This is a classic platform play where it is easy to expand the
relationship with an existing customer and reap rich profits from
the incremental revenue,” Chatterjee said. “Transportation is very
much within their realm, so it is no surprise to see them gear up
for this.”

He added, “The reason this will work well for Airbnb is because
they have a strong emotional engagement with their customers who
are likely to give the brand permission to flex, and who will
likely have high rates of trial and, if Airbnb does it right,
conversion.”

airbnb logo

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, who is also a co-founder,
said in the Airbnb statement
that he isn’t looking to build
“just another place on the Internet where you can buy a plane
ticket,” nor an Airbnb airline.

“We’re going to explore a broad range of ideas and partnerships
that can make transportation better,” Chesky said. 

Read more: A longtime Etsy engineering VP just
joined one of trucking’s hottest startups — and it shows how the
$700 billion trucking industry is becoming a tech darling

To analysts like Chatterjee, the Airbnb’s venture in bundled
packages will be more successful than other travel websites’ in
part because Airbnb has “strong emotional engagement with their
customers.” The same can’t necessarily be said for the dozens of
fare aggregator websites online that push travel packages. 

“There is significantly more equity in the Airbnb brand, and it
will translate into heightened permission for brand extensions,”
Chatterjee said. “They’re just getting ready to cash in the
equity.”

SEE ALSO: UPS
CEO David Abney reveals why the logistics giant hasn’t pushed into
one of delivery’s fastest-growing sectors


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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
Airbnb just hired an aviation veteran to its C-suite — and a brand expert says this signals Airbnb is going to start offering you bundled travel packages