On March 5, Greg Greeley, the vice president of Amazon Prime posted on LinkedIn that he was resigning after 18 years in the company. According to his post, he was leaving to take on a “different challenge.”
It turns out that the different challenge was to work for a startup. Shortly after the post, Airbnb announced that Greeley was going to head its Homes Division.
To get a better grip of the future, Airbnb has set about reorganizing by dividing the business into four divisions: Homes, Trips, Lux and China. Greeley, former Amazon Prime Vice President, is uniquely suited to head the Homes division. He was responsible for building the European segment of Amazon, and was set to work on the transformation of the Whole Foods, which was recently acquired by Amazon.
Before Greeley, the Homes division head was Airbnb Chairman Brian Chesky. Homes is yet Airbnb’s most profitable division.
Greeley came from Sun Microsystems and joined Amazon in 1999. At Amazon he was involved in various roles, including operations and finance, as well as Amazon’s books and music retail business and the consumer business in Europe. He was also instrumental in the creation and growth of Amazon Prime which he managed starting in 2013.
His learnings from Prime, a subscription service, may be useful with Airbnb after it announced a perks and rewards program for renters and hosts. This is to encourage loyalty and increase spending among top users. The division represents almost all of the company’s $2.57 billion revenue in 2017.
The Homes division is also undergoing further modifications as it recently introduced a higher-end tier called Plus, and options for hotel stays, and a loyalty program.
Through a spokesman, Amazon acknowledged Greeley’s contributions with this statement: “We thank Greg for his contributions to Amazon and wish him the best in his new role.”
While with Amazon Prime, Greeley spent some time working in Europe. During that time, Airbnb competitor Bookings.com approached him and offered him the CEO position. Greeley declined the offer.
Airbnb is an online utility which matches rooms for rent with possible vacationers who would want to rent cheap rooms. Serving as a broker and marketplace it has more than 150 million users as of the first quarter of 2017; it has over 4.5 million listings in more than 81,000 cities located, and it has tax agreements with more than 275 countries. It has facilitated in over 260 million listings since it was founded.
The company is also one of the most aggressive in terms of growth. It has an estimated 100 million “guest arrivals” in 2017. The company valuation as of mid-2017 was $31 billion. With growing regulations and legislation in the US and Europe, the company has set its sights on Asia and Latin America for further growth. More than 81% of Airbnb’s business is from outside of the US.
There are still several openings in key positions at AirBnB, including the chief marketing officer and chief financial officer.
Airbnb is a bold technology which has proven to be disruptive in the way people are booking their vacations. Its continued growth is expected to expand even further.
The company allows its hosts to set their own room rates, with suggestions on Airbnb. Accordingly, the hosts are responsible for putting up pictures of their own rooms and homes. In San Francisco, the average Airbnb room rate in 2015 was 18.8% less than the average hotel room rate. The occupancy rates of Airbnb homes also vary a lot. In 2015, the occupancy rate of Airbnb rooms and homes was around 65%. Analysts estimated that the income generated was $451.43 million in New York City alone, for the whole of 2015. This was estimated to increase to $805.32 million by 2018.