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Friday, March 21, 2014

Airbnb Set To Surpass Hyatt, Wyndham Hotels In Value

Airbnb -- the online site that directly connects travelers to people who want to rent out their homes to them -- is reportedly valued at $10 billion. (Effie Yang/Flickr)

Airbnb — the online site that directly connects travelers to people who want to rent out their homes to them — is reportedly valued at $10 billion. (Effie Yang/Flickr)

Airbnb, the online market for home and room rentals may be worth $10 billion.

The five-year-old start up lets people rent their rooms and homes directly to travelers, and it’s already one of Silicon Valley’s big success stories. The company is now reportedly in talks with investors for a new round of financing based on a valuation of about $10 billion.

That sum puts it above hotel groups like the Hyatt and the Wyndham, and the high price reflects what investors believe is the company’s potential to disrupt the hotel industry.

Airbnb’s growth is part of what is called “the sharing economy” — web-based businesses that allow people to trade goods and services directly with each other.

But like those companies, Airbnb’s growth has come with legal and other problems.

Hotel chains say that the service disadvantages them because the transactions aren’t subject to the same taxes.

Landlords have clamped down on renters who rent out room or space through Airbnb, and New York’s attorney general has issued a subpoena for information on the company’s 15,000 hosts in the state.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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