Past Event: Stanford GSB Chapter of Hong Kong

This Event is Now Full With No Walk-Ins. If You’d Like to be on the Waitlist, Please Register Below

Cocktails, Thursday, 6 October 2016
Speaker Series:
Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, Airbnb
Founder & Former CEO, Joie de Vivre Hotels

Airbnb: "This Business is Going to Be Massively Successful As Long As You Don't Screw it Up… "
Chip Conley’s Extraordinary Impact on Airbnb – "A Boutique Hotel on Steroids" - as Mentor, Innovator, and the Voice of the Airbnb Host, and How the Black Sheep of the Hotel Industry Became... Even Blacker

18:00   Registration & Informal Gathering
18:30   Opening Remarks
19:00   Q&A and Open Discussion
20:00   Close & Post-Event Interaction
China Club, 13/F, The Old Bank of China Building, Bank Street, Central, HK
NB: please note strict China Club dress code (no t-shirts, polo shirts, shorts/short trousers, sandals, trainers or slippers permitted

Cost & Registration:
Open Bar & Champagne. To register, please go online and CLICK HERE to RSVP and PAY NOW

Prepaid Credit Card/PayPal
registration of HKD 450 (for Early Birds if by 23:59 Tuesday night, 4 October). Cash Payment or Late Bird Pre-Payment will be HKD 750. Please bring exact amount if paying Cash at the Door (no change will be provided, cash only accepted for Walk-Ins). No refunds for no-shows or post-payment cancellations. Early Bird pre-paid registration is strongly encouraged. Questions/problems? Contact Beatrice Wong, Chapter VP, at

Guests permitted.

Speaker's Bio
Please Click Here

Event Details:

The Stanford GSB Chapter of Hong Kong is pleased to invite you to cocktail and conversation with Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy at Airbnb and Founder/Former CEO of ground-breaking boutique hospitality group, Joie de Vivre Hotels, a company that focused on why people travelled – emotional self-renewal, escapism – as much as where, not just selling sleep, “but delivering dreams.”

In 2013, having sold Joie de Vivre to Hyatt Hotel heir John Pritzker’s Commune Hotels, Conley was semi-retired. He was not looking to “get back in the game”, and was more interested in finding the “next Burning Man” than mentoring an entrepreneur founder, Brian Chesky, 20 yrs his junior. But Chesky, having read Conley’s book Peak, believed Conley could transform Airbnb from a technology company to a hospitality company and could not only mentor Chesky but also 30 other top executives along the way.

Under the “Chesky-Conley Alliance” (starting as “only a 15 hrs/wk consulting commitment”), Airbnb celebrated in July its 100 millionth guest and has grown to a USD 30 billion valuation, 30% more than Hilton, the world’s largest hotel company. Its 2.3 MM room inventory in 35,000 cities is greater than the 3 largest hotel chains - Hilton, Marriott and IHG – combined. And yet Airbnb is not cannibalizing hotels (studies suggest only 5% of revenues would have otherwise gone to traditional lodging), it is growing the travel industry itself. And the industry has noticed, with Accor Hotels buying London’s OneFineStay this past April for USD 170 MM and Asian emulators (with the world’s five fastest growing destination cities) and particularly China (Tujia, Xiaozhu) increasing.

Along the way, Conley has turned some of the legacy hotel industry’s dismissiveness (“our guests don’t want the Airbnb feel and scent”) on its ear.

He shepherded the company’s transition to mobile (“can you imagine if every Uber driver had to first check their laptop to find their next ride?”), and created a set of hospitality standards for a more reliable guest experience, educating more than 50,000 hosts on the “Hospitality Five Moments of Truth for Travelers”, emphasizing “doing things that don’t scale”, providing the guest with the ability to move to a new place or get a refund if unsatisfied upon arrival, and expanding guest services.

For the Airbnb business traveler (10% of all guests who typically stay 6.8 days, 2x longer than other guests), he has innovated keyless doors/smartphone entry (since adopted by Starwood), created Business Ready Listings (to get over such arrival/amenities pain points as Wifi, cable TV, laundry and no host cancellation within 7 days); introduced Expedia-like Instant Book, and created a free dashboard for corporates/travel managers to coordinate the booking process more easily, among others.

Conley’s impact on Airbnb continues. Future innovations/challenges include “Airbnb Magical Trips”, encouraging hosts to offer more services (meals, tours, airport pickups); focusing on the MICE sector (where a marquee convention can consume all of adjacent hotel inventory); deepening connectivity with family guests; and perhaps most important, leading Airbnb’s further transition from hospitality to global data company so that the “right match” – placing an Edith Piaf fan in that perfect left bank apartment – will seamlessly pare down the otherwise “paradox of choice” of, say, 75,000+ Paris listings.

Global nomads – who don’t own a home or a car but who have a smartphone, a laptop and live at Airbnb – will be among the many beneficiaries of how well such global/personal data is captured and deployed.

The humble beginnings of modern “home swapping” (1950s Dutch and Swiss teachers unions exchanging houses in the summer to save on family vacations) are now unrecognizable, and Airbnb is no longer about “renting the house…it’s about the entire trip.” And it’s a global trip. London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo are among the Company’s top 10 heaviest visited destinations, with Asia’s visibility only to increase in the future.

The Stanford GSB Chapter of HK could not be more honored to have Chip share his insights, experience and wisdom on all of the above. We hope you can join us.

Speaker's Bio: Chip Conley (

Hotel guru. Armchair psychologist. Traveling philosopher. Author. Chip Conley has lived out mulitple callings pior to his latest high-profile role as Global Head of Hospitality & Strategy at Airbnb since 2013.

At age 26, freshly graduated from the Stanford GSB, Conley’s mission was to “create joy”, ignoring conventional wisdom and building a company that USA Today later called “the most delightfully schizophrenic collection of hotels in America”, Joie de Vivre (JDV). Managing to raise USD 1 MM to renovate a seedy 1950s San Francisco Tenderloin “no-tell motel,” Chip transformed it into the world-renowned Phoenix Hotel, a legendary rock ‘n roll destination catering to the likes of David Bowie, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Depp and Nirvana. Over 24 years, he grew JDV to 52 iconic properties, becoming the second largest boutique hotel company in the world prior to its 2013 majority sale to Hyatt Hotels heir John Pritzker’s Commune Hotels.

Over the course of his career, Chip has shared his insights both as speaker (CLICK HERE for an Oct 2015 talk before the Urban Land Institute) and as award-winning and best-selling author. His books include PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo; “EMOTIONAL EQUATIONS: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success,” as well as “THE REBEL RULES: Daring to be Yourself in Business,” and “MARKETING THAT MATTERS: 10 Practices to Profit Your Business and Change the World.

His upcoming book, “MODERN ELDER”, will draw upon his experiences mentoring Brian Chesky and others at Airbnb as well as his reflections on how the digital age has crowned a new set of leaders in their mid-thirties. I.e., power has shifted ten years younger at the same time that science has pushed life expectancies 10 years further out and what this means for future life relevancy vs. life expectancy.

Chip currently serves on the boards of the Burning Man Project, the Esalen Institute, and co-working space company NeueHouse. He is also the founder of Fest300, the definitive guide to the world’s best festivals (

His numerous industry awards include the American hospitality industry’s highest accolate, the ISHC Pioneer Award, and has been named both the Most Innovative CEO by the San Francisco Business Times and Guerrilla Marketer of the Year by the American Travel Marketing Executives. He created the San Francisco Hotel Hero Awards and founded the city’s Annual Celebrity Pool Toss event, raising millions for inner-city youth programs that thrive in the troubled neighborhood where he launched his first hotel.

Chip received his BA and MBA from Stanford University and holds an Honorary Doctorate in Psychology from Saybrook University. Chip served on the Board of Glide Memorial Church for nearly a decade and received its Cecil Williams Legacy Award in 2015.