Airbnb maintained growth in its customer base due to its various types of innovation. First, Airbnb’s product innovation is quite strong. Product innovation is one that requires the development and introduction to the market a completely new or significantly improved good or service, usually a product or service that has just been invented and the one that is not offered by competitors. In terms of product innovation, Airbnb offered a product, namely the possibility of renting private rooms online, that was completely new in the market, and no competitors offered similar services. Previously, customers were able to rent private homes, but there was no universal global website that would allow to search for them online. In addition, Airbnb exercised process innovation as well, especially during the stage of its developed. The introduction of the system of payment via credit cards where Airbnb was an intermediary is an example of the company’s process innovation.
In the past, when conducting online booking or purchasing, customers paid directly to a seller or a service provider, but it was usually more risky. Thus, process innovation in terms of payments helped Airbnb to find loyal customers and increase its customer base.
Airbnb is more a radical innovation than an incremental one. This is because the company created a new market for booking private homes globally via one website. Before the introduction of that concept, such a market did not exist, and only local markets were available. However, as the development of Airbnb continues, the company facilitates incremental innovation as well. For example, for now, innovation in the payment process only partly influences the existing services. In terms of ten innovation types, Airbnb is close to the channel innovation model due to the way how it delivers its services to customers. Before Airbnb introduced significant changes to the sphere of its business operations, renting services existed, but they were delivered to customers in different ways – via local websites, newspapers, and other media. Consequently, channel innovation allowed Airbnb to deliver services globally and more conveniently.
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