Airbnb putting brakes on international expansion

Jul.July 16, 2013 12:30 PM

Airbnb, the online home-sharing service that ran afoul of New York City housing regulations, has slowed down hiring for its offices overseas and plans to consolidate its European services, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The San Francisco-based startup, valued at $2.5 billion, is rethinking its business model so that it doesn’t expand too quickly in international markets, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources inside the the company.

As part of the consolidation, Airbnb officials are assigning workers to new jobs that will require them to move to a hub operation — most likely in Dublin. The changes have prompted a dozen employees to quit.

In the spring, the international operations team split into a “customer experience” group and a hyper-local group.

Airbnb began operations only two years ago and now has services in 30,000 cities around the world. It faces stiff competition from copycats for room listings in Europe and Asia, the newspaper reported.

Last month, Airbnb had a face-off with New York City over its housing regulations. It appealed a $2,400 municipal fine on behalf of customer Nigel Warren, who sublet his condominium to a Russian visitor for three nights. The city fined Warren for violating the city’s hotel laws, which now prohibit short-term subleasing, as previously reported. [WSJ]Mark Maurer

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