Airbnb’s big growth driver: full-time rentals
The advantage of short-term rental special housing is to provide higher quality of service and increase Airbnb's revenue, but it may also weaken Airbnb's brand story and strain the company’s relationships with governments in big cities.
A growing share of new homes on Airbnb are year-round rentals owned by hosts who never live in them. These rentals now surpass private rooms inside a house occupied by the host, one of Airbnb’s traditional offerings, according to company data for a week’s worth of listings from June obtained by The Information.
This shift towards “professional” hosts—real estate investors or property management firms that own homes rented out full-time—symbolizes how Airbnb’s growth is evolving. Professionals are becoming as important as mom-and-pop hosts, a shift that puts Airbnb in further competition with Booking.com and Expedia’s HomeAway.
The data are part of a weekly snapshot of Airbnb homes booked for the first time, broken down by category. For the week ended June 16, Airbnb added about 65,000 listings that were booked for the first time. Twenty-seven percent of those were classified by the company as “dedicated entire homes” that are used as full-time, short-term rentals and typically professionally managed.
The biggest group of newly booked listings are homes where the host typically lives on site but rents out the entire space part of the year, such as when they go away. This group shrunk slightly to 46% from 47% of total new listings. Nascent categories including boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts grew slightly, each from about 2% during the week last year to 3% of new inventory this year.
The shift toward professional listings could be a double-edge sword for Airbnb. Professionally managed homes can provide superior quality for guests and significant revenue for the company. Airbnb has long seen a disproportionate share of revenue from so-called professional hosts who typically rent out multiple properties, according to outside analysts’ assessments of Airbnb data.
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