Five years ago on New Year’s Eve, 2,000 people used Airbnb. On December 31, 2014, according to the company, more than 550,000 people were using Airbnb to stay in more than 190 countries. Of all those travelers, 91,000 were using the accommodation platform for the first time and there were 22,000 new hosts opening their doors.
It’s a remarkable story of growth and how the brand has so quickly been able to establish itself as a ubiquitous name among more established hotel brands. Now Airbnb has launched an online map, created with WebGL by Tool of North America, that shows in real-time where people are using its service, along with more New Year’s Eve stats including: the largest contingent of users in Mexico City were from New York, and 12,000 guests stayed in Rome. The map also tracks the brand’s #OneLessStranger campaign, aimed at spreading somewhat random acts of kindness among its users–the hangover cure care pack in Toronto, to picking up a hitchhiker in the U.K.
The creators at Tool say that Airbnb’s tech team created a custom data stream for them to access and pull data directly into the interactive map and visualization tool. It also integrates a reactive sound engine to allow multiple soundscapes to play within the interactive experience based on how people interact with the site.
Despite all the digital wizardry required to give you an impression of how Airbnb is being used on a daily basis (though it would be cool to click on specific places to see specific numbers), its look and design doesn’t scream “TECHNOLOGY” and instead stays cheerfully consistent with the brand’s overall friendly disposition.