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Analysis: Airbnb’s Shift to Online Experiences

Recently, Airbnb made some dramatic shifts in its product offerings, including bringing “online experiences” front and center.

This is something to which the Church should pay attention.

Why?

Airbnb is (seemingly) a hospitality company that has made a fortune off of adamantly not owning any property, but passing that part off to property owners through which the company can “offer” a stay somewhere.

Basically, they want to extract profit for the experience by investing in the branding and the software to make it happen. The rest, they are leaving to others.

But, this shift is an admission on the part of the company that a business model of in-person gathering, hospitality, or travel, is not viable.

In some ways, the Church is already there: worship jumped to livestream or online in some other way.

But, the Church has yet to admit that gathering in-person (while good theologically) is no longer viable as a business model (aka won’t bring in the money).

Once it does, it will likely realize that it must restructure itself in order to develop new forms of ministry in the Coronavirus Age.

The question is if ministry leaders have the political will to make this happen.