Chip Conley

Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy, Chip Conley, says Airbnb is focusing on “localisation and experience” and he has tried to bring “inconsistency” in his time at the company.

Conley, formerly the founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, was speaking on stage at the 2015 International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) at the Hotel InterContinental Berlin, Germany, and although he owns 18 properties, he sees himself as a student rather than an hotelier or technologist.

When asked whether Airbnb was a hospitality or technology company, Conley said he wanted to take the tech company that it originally was and turn it into a hospitality company.

Over 20 million people used Airbnb during 2014 and Conley said he sees the company as facilitating travel, especially in the developing world where, for example, a hotel stay for a family of five would be unaffordable and impractical but staying together in an apartment makes travel and adventure accessible.

He said that the empty nesters are their fastest growing segment as couples find themselves with two or three spare bedrooms and want to experience “kitchen table diplomacy”.

Conley said his philosophy is to “stay humble, stay curious and continue to learn”.

Prior to joining Airbnb, Conley was the Founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, one of the largest boutique hotel operators in the United States.

This week over 2,000 delegates from across 70 countries are attending Europe’s largest and most senior event for the hospitality industry in the region.


HM flew to Berlin with British Airways. BA flies to Berlin via London and the author recommends flying in Club World (Business Class), which features flat-bed seats, hundreds of hours’ entertainment on demand, a great selection of wine and some of the best meals in the sky. For bookings, visit

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management