Airbnb Is Turning Itself Into A Local-Business Guide

Localmind cofounders Lenny Rachitsky, Beau Haugh, and Nelson GauthierLocalmind cofounders Lenny Rachitsky, Beau Haugh, and Nelson Gauthier

Photo: Airbnb

Airbnb just announced that it was acquiring Localmind, a five-person startup, in an apparent move to broaden its business beyond lodging into local advertising.The price wasn’t mentioned. Localmind raised $600,000 from investors including Inovia Capital and Granite Ventures last year, when it moved from Montréal, Canada, to San Francisco.

Earlier this year, Airbnb also acquired NabeWise, a New York-based startup led by Ann Montgomery, and put that five-person team to work launching a new feature called Neighborhoods which offers travellers staying in Airbnb locations information about nearby businesses.

Montgomery told Business Insider that NabeWise’s strategy had been to mix “aggregated” information about local businesses gathered through automated means with content created by users. 

Localmind seems right in line with that strategy. Its team was working on a question-and-answer tool which allowed people to ask about what’s happening in their neighbourhood. That will now become part of Airbnb’s site.

Together, NabeWise and Localmind point to a strategy for Airbnb of broadening its appeal beyond hosts and guests to local businesses, too.

travellers who don’t mind renting out a stranger’s spare room are typically interested in quirky cafés, art galleries, and other independent businesses. Those businesses often struggle with marketing themselves to locals and tourists alike.

At the launch of Neighborhoods, Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia told Business Insider that the company hoped to appeal to those businesses.

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