India is considered to be the three fastest-growing emerging markets for Airbnb and will continue to see more investments from the online homestay company influenced by the globetrotting Indian millennials, a top company official said.
“Europe and North America are the largest markets for us but from an emerging (economy) standpoint, India is in the top three and growing one of the fastest. I expect it to continue to grow for quite some time as a growing number of people here are discovering travel-both domestic and internationally,” said Mr. Greg Greeley, president of homes, Airbnb.
Kerala has emerged among the top 20 global destinations for 2020 in a study by Airbnb, with increase in India’s popularity on the platform. Airbnb has also entered in agreement with the Nagaland government and will be the accommodation partner for the Hornbill festival next month.
Airbnb was founded in 2008, having presence in 191 countries and launched its platform in May 2016 in India, where it has 54,000 listings across 110 cities. The company offers a range of accommodation options consisting from apartments and villas to castles, treehouses and bed-and-breakfast. Airbnb is the brainchild of three friends, Mr. Joe Gebbia, Mr. Brian Chesky and Mr. Nathan Blecharczyk. It began out as an idea to turn their loft into an area that could fit air mattresses, and offer breakfast, to host travellers coming for a design conference in San Francisco. At present, Mr. Chesky is now the chief executive officer whereas Mr. Gebbia the chief product officer. Eleven years on, the company says it is ready for an initial public offering (IPO) in 2020. It has also announced plans to venture into the transportation segment, and for that it even hired aviation industry professional Mr. Fred Reid as the global head of transportation in January 2019. This, Airbnb believes, is crucial for it to emerge as an end-to-end travel experience provider across categories.
“The big picture for us is the end-to-end journey and if we can bring people powered experiences that are unique, authentic, local and not mass produced,” Mr. Greg said.
“We are positioning ourselves to help our community on the entire trip-from the inspiration of where I would like to go to how do I get there, where do I stay and what do I do when I get there. Also, we would like to help people on their return and that checking back into their own home is as easy as it is to check into a place on your holiday,” Mr. Greeley said.
Aside from accommodation, the platform also offers experiences which are unique to each region such as food tours, biking tours, pottery classes and museum tours, among others.
“We continue to grow the homestay, but we also think about how that can be the anchor for all the other parts of the travel experience. One of the most successful experiences in India booked by guests which sold out very quickly was a thali with food from different parts of the country,” he added.
The Gudliya Suite in City Palace of Jaipur is the new heritage accommodation unveiled by Airbnb. This palace was built in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who is the founder of the city of Jaipur, and continues to be home to Jaipur’s royal family. Gudliya Suite is rated at US$ 8,000 per night.