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Mega-Hosts Are Transforming Airbnb Into A Travel Booking Site

Airbnb is fast-changing. The home-sharing behemoth, originally founded to help homeowners with spare rooms or empty homes earn a little extra cash, is being transformed into an international travel company by hosts marketing hundreds of listings

Airbnb room
Airbnb in Mexico

Users like Los Angeles-based Jan, who manages more than 1,000 listings from Fiji to Montana, are the catalysts behind Airbnb's changing model. This shift is enabling entrepreneurs, hotel companies and property managers to use Airbnb almost as if it were Expedia or TripAdvisor, and it is a growing trend, BuzzFeed reports. In 2012 only 10% of U.S. property managers used Airbnb, according to Phocuswright, but today that number is closer to 50%.

Inside Airbnb, an activist-run website that provides stats, data and tools to monitor how Airbnb is being used around the world, found more than 100 hosts with more than 100 listings. Rather than cracking down on hosts making commercial use of the platform, Airbnb is aiding them.

Last fall Airbnb started offering bulk management tools to help these mega-hosts manage a large number of properties. The company allows managers to sync their databases within Airbnb’s systems, and Airbnb recently started allowing professional hosts to register under a company name rather than as a person. BuzzFeed predicts these commercial users will account for $2.8B worth of revenue annually.