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Airbnb: from homesharing cool to commercial giant

Airbnb started in 2008 after the founders rented out an airbed in their spare room. Two million listings later, Guardian Travel investigates how high-profit landlords and third-party management companies are undermining its founding principles

“The best part about sharing Brixton?” says Airbnb host, Christabel. “It’s sharing a meal in my home. I cook for all my guests and sometimes they also cook for me. We always exchange recipes and, of course, a good laugh.”

Christabel, a middle-aged south London super-host, is exactly the kind of person you would hope to stay with on your travels. She comes across as warm, caring and home-loving. She captures the spirit and ideals Airbnb is meant to be built on. It is no surprise she – with the above quote – is featured as a case study in a report the company launched last month in London’s City Hall, trumpeting the positive impact the home-sharing platform is having on the capital.

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