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Airbnb is giving away $100,000 to 100 different people so they can build the eccentric home they've been dreaming of

·3 min read
Airbnb is giving away $100,000 to 100 different people so they can build the eccentric home they've been dreaming of
  • Airbnb is seeking applications for its $10 million OMG! Fund.

  • The fund will give $100,000 to 100 people with highly unusual design ideas for their properties.

  • Airbnb cites homes in the shape of a boot, a UFO, and a potato as examples of unusual design.

Airbnb is dishing out $10 million to help 100 people make their "craziest listing ideas" come true.

As part of its OMG! Fund, the home-rental platform is asking people to submit "out-of-this-world" ideas for "the world's craziest spaces." The plans will be judged by an expert panel and the top 100 applicants will receive $100,000 in financing each, Airbnb said in its announcement on Wednesday.

The application includes prompts about the idea's inspiration, construction timeline, location, and environmental impact. The contest deadline is 11:59pm ET on July 22, 2022.

Airbnb listed various properties – including those designed in the shape of a boot, a UFO, and a massive potato — as examples of unusual listings already available on the platform.

"We want to make it easier to create more of these homes," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote on Twitter.

"The fund is shaped in part by the growing trend of flexible living that has emerged in the past two years," Airbnb wrote in the announcement. "As part of this shift, Airbnb guests are craving more unexpected spaces that become the destinations themselves."

To tap into the trend, Airbnb in May introduced the "OMG!" category, features listings with unusual designs.

Listings like these are a valuable asset for Airbnb, especially as short-term vacation rentals show signs of slowing down from 2021's record bookings. Several hosts told Insider they've seen a decrease in bookings this summer compared to the same time period last year.

Hosts also stand to benefit from over-the-top creative listings. Globally, the median earnings for an OMG! Category Host active between Jan 2018 and May 2022 was just over $48,000, according to Airbnb.

In an interview with Insider, contest judge Kristie Wolfe described her journey from making $13 an hour as a factory worker to becoming one of the most popular hosts on the Airbnb app through her four unique rentals, which include a hobbit hole and potato hotel.

Airbnb itself is embracing remote work two years after the pandemic shuttered offices worldwide: In April, the company announced employees could live and work anywhere forever.

Chesky said at Airbnb's first-quarter earnings call in May that the pandemic spurred longer-term stays at properties listed on its platform. Long-term stays of 28 days or more remained Airbnb's fastest-growing category by trip length compared to 2019, the company said in its letter to shareholders.

"Right now, what's happened is that for millions of people, they don't need to go back to an office five days a week. And the vast majority of companies are not requiring employees to come back to an office," Chesky said in the call, according to a transcript.

"I don't think this is a temporary phenomenon. I think that the genie's out of the bottle, and flexibility is here to stay," he added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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