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Airbnb's big growth: 500 castles (and 300K other listings)

The company, a global leader in helping people rent unique accommodations, unveiled a series of growth numbers today. Over 4 million users can choose from, among other things, 200 treehouses.

Airbnb Neighborhoods could be a big help to people traveling to unfamiliar cities.
Screen shot by CNET

Airbnb, which helps people find vacation rentals all around the world, has more than doubled the number of available listings in the last year, and now boasts more than 300,000 total listings globally (up from 120,000 at the beginning of 2012), including 500 castles and 200 treehouses.

The company unveiled some impressive growth numbers today, including the fact that of the 4 million people who have used the online and mobile service since 2008, 3 million used it in 2012 alone. Among the 300,000 listings now available to rent are also 4,000 cabins, 1,000 boats, and 11,000 villas.

As evidence of its worldwide appeal, Airbnb said its users in 2012 came from 150 countries, and hosts and guests spoke a total of 32 languages last year, up from 10 a year earlier.

A look at Airbnb's growth in 2012. Airbnb

And because pictures of their houses -- or castles -- are so helpful for hosts hoping to successfully rent out their lodgings, photographers took and posted more than 2,000 snapshots a day in 2012, for a total of more than 800,000. And iPhone users downloaded the Airbnb app more than 1.2 million times in 2012.

Airbnb has been working to expand its offerings in recent months, hoping to appeal to more people, in part by making the service easier to use. In November, it rolled out Airbnb Neighborhoods, a new set of tools intended to help visitors find the best areas in a series of major cities to stay, based on their personal needs and preferences.