Airbnb Goes Into the Fast-Growing Rent-a-Country Business

By  |  Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm

At last month’s South by Southwest Interactive conference, two of the companies I met apply a similar concept to different businesses. Aibnb lets real people rent vacation accommodations to other real people by the night–a sort  of specialized Craiglist with a whole lot more quality control to help ensure that neither renter nor rentee gets ripped off. And Liquidspace has an iPhone app that allows nomadic businesspeople (like me!) to rent a conference room or a desk on the fly, either at a hotel or business center or at a company that simply has more space than it needs.

I haven’t tried either service for myself yet, but I’m intrigued by the idea and the possibility of applying it not only to beds and conference rooms but to just about anything. (I’m not the only one who’s intrigued, apparently: Googling for “the airbnb of” leads to a bunch of other startups, such as Tutorspree (tutoring) and Uber (car service, recently covered here by Ed).

Now Airbnb is expanding its offering big-time, by letting folks rent entire villages! And countries! Or one country, at least: the Principality of Liechtenstein, which goes for $70,000 a day with a two-night minimum. (I’m not sure how many people Liechtenstein sleeps, but it has a population of 35,000.)

I can’t see myself needing Liechtenstein for two days, at least at that price. But I’d consider splurging on Monaco or Tuvalu–both of which are much smaller than Liechtenstein, and which therefore might be available for less dough.

On a more serious note: have any of you tried Airbnb, Liquidspace, or any of their couterparts in other areas?

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