NATIONAL REPORT—Airbnb is on pace to break records on New Year’s Eve with nearly 3 million travelers estimated to be staying at an accommodation booked on the homesharing site—and some hoteliers will be benefiting from that.
“This will be the single biggest night for an accommodation company ever, breaking the record we set on Aug. 12 earlier this year of 2.6 million people,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s head of global policy and public affairs, during a conference call. “These guests will be hailing from all around the world—210 different countries and territories, from Togo to Tajikistan, Suriname and many, many more. We have hosts from over 200 distinct countries and territories.”
Today, the site has over 4 million listings, half of which can be instantly booked. To date, there have been more than 260 million guest arrivals at Airbnb locations around the world. “We’re providing real choice out there for consumers, and those consumers value the proposition that we’re providing and offering,” Lehane said.
But, he noted, independent hotels are a part of that and will continue to be a focus for the homesharing site. “We’ve seen an increasing number of B&Bs and boutique hotels that joined the platform,” he said. “As we head into the holidays, we’ve had 20,000 boutique hotel listings on the platform.”
Airbnb also recently formed a partnership with the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals, a nonprofit trade organization focused on best practices for success for independent hospitality professionals and ThinkReservations, a reservation management system for bed and breakfasts. Lehane noted that this will help further the company’s partnership with boutique hotels and B&Bs.
“We believe we’re just at the beginning of this trend when it comes to such listings, and in the same way we’ve seen our hosts join the platform, we’re seeing these boutiques and B&Bs join, because of the value proposition,” he said, pointing to the cost of customer acquisition that hoteliers face with other channels like OTAs.
“With travel and tourism becoming a global activity, they increasingly need an international marketing platform that they don’t have in and of themselves because they’ve become so reliant on OTAs,” Lehane said. “They now see anywhere between 15-30% of a listing get taken by an OTA. They just don’t have the muscle in the marketplace to be able to negotiate better deals. We offer an incredible economic value proposition for them.
“As we go forward, in terms of providing the international marketing platform, managing the transactions, the fact that we charge far less than the 15-30%, we think we’re going to see more of these folks, like our hosts, voting with their feet and migrating to the Airbnb platform and away from some of the OTAs,” he concluded.