Airbnb has appointed Angela Ahrendts, the previous Apple retail head and Burberry chief government, to its board, as the corporate finest identified for short-term leases seeks to grow to be a totally fledged journey model.
That is the primary new company place for Ms Ahrendts since she left Apple in February after working its retail shops for 5 years. The tech group had employed her at a time when it was making an attempt to reposition itself as a luxurious model with the launch of the Apple Watch and institution of partnerships with Hermes to promote its wearable gadget.
Ms Ahrendts touted Apple shops as “city squares”, emphasising neighborhood occasions, and expanded the iPhone maker’s footprint to new cities and international locations — though the modifications left some Apple clients sad about wait occasions and customer support high quality.
She beforehand ran Burberry for eight years, the place she was credited with reviving the British trend model by profitable over youthful shoppers by digital advertising and enhancing the in-store expertise.
“Angela has a repute for pushing manufacturers to dream massive, and she or he instructed me that’s precisely what she hopes to deliver to Airbnb’s board,” mentioned Brian Chesky, Airbnb chief government and co-founder. “She has led world manufacturers by transformation, fully redefined the retail expertise, and achieved all of it whereas placing clients and communities first.”
Her appointment as a non-executive director comes as Airbnb is searching for to grow to be a full-service journey supplier, and gearing up for an eventual preliminary public providing. In recent times, Airbnb has been increasing past its authentic enterprise of connecting folks with rooms to lease in houses. The positioning now additionally presents travellers luxurious listings, boutique inns, sightseeing actions and transport.
“I’m elated by the chance to affix Airbnb’s board of administrators at this necessary part on the unimaginable journey of the corporate and its neighborhood of hosts and visitors,” Ms Ahrendts mentioned, noting that she has identified its co-founders — Mr Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk — for years.
Airbnb is hoping her expertise constructing world manufacturers shall be a boon because it eyes worldwide progress, and new sources of income and clients.
The San Francisco-based firm made its greatest acquisition so far in March, with the acquisition of the lodge reserving web site HotelTonight. It additionally not too long ago invested no less than $100m in Oyo Rooms, the SoftBank-backed Indian lodge franchise, and has introduced plans to develop luxurious flats in partnership with one in every of New York’s greatest actual property teams.
On the similar time, Airbnb is seeing elevated competitors to its core enterprise from publicly listed rivals Bookings Holdings and Expedia. Final month, Marriott Worldwide, the world’s largest lodge operator, launched a “Houses & Villas” platform promising to supply greater than 2,000 houses in 100 locations throughout Europe, the US and the Caribbean.
Ms Ahrendts, who additionally sits on the board of Ralph Lauren, turns into Airbnb’s third impartial director alongside Ken Chenault, the previous American Categorical chief government, and Ann Mather, a former government at Walt Disney and Pixar. She is the second girl on the board, following a pledge by Mr Chesky final 12 months so as to add extra feminine administrators.
Extra reporting by Tim Bradshaw in London