Update: Harish Bahl, founder of the Smile Group, informs us that Airbnb doesn’t have an “official” operation in India at this time, but there is a small team based in India, focusing on supporting Indian suppliers. Springstar is owned by the Smile Group, Klaus Hommels and Oliver Jung, and as a part of Springstar’s deal with Airbnb, it is helping them halunch in various countries. Bahl says that Airbnb will launch officially, hopefully, a full fledged operation in India this year.
Frankly, from the email below and our conversation with the sales exec, there are people in this team who claim to be representing Airbnb, and not Springstar or the Smile Group. Official or not, they’re here.
June 4th 2012: Exclusive: Airbnb, an online room and space reservation business, has launched operations in India, MediaNama had learnt from reliable sources. The company, which has set up its office in Sector 18 in Gurgaon, is currently tying up with various bed ‘n breakfast accommodations within the country.
In October last year, Airbnb had announced a partnership with the Springstar incubator, to help it go interational. Springstar is an incubator formed by Klaus Hommels, Oliver Jung and Smile Interactive’s Harish Bahl. At the time of filing this report, Bahl was unavailable for comment.
An Airbnb sales representative MediaNama spoke with said that the company is currently focusing on building supply, in preparation for the peak season, which is between October and January. They’re doing around 400 bookings per month in Delhi NCR, over 1000 in Goa and over 600 in Mumbai. When we checked the site, we found around 663 properties for Delhi, 302 for Goa, 120 for Mumbai, 129 for Bangalore and 30 in Hyderabad.
Currently, property photoshoots are being provided free of cost to suppliers, albeit for a limited time period, the sales rep said. Airbnb takes a 3% commission on all bookings in India.
One bed ‘n breakfast client of Airbnb India sent us a copy of an activation email received:
As per conversation we have created the listing and email the login
and password details.
Please email us the pictures of *** and the profile picture of your
hotel for the completion of your profile.
We have set the price of *** as confirmed by you.
For any urgent matters, suggestions or questions please feel free to
add me on Google talk.
My username is ***@airbedandbreakfast.com
Associate-Sales and Activation
Plot no. 7c,sec-18,Gurgaon, India
(Note that we’ve removed personal information from the mail)