This article has been just updated: March 27, 2020
There’s no denying that Airbnb has changed the way we travel and explore the world, but how are travelers and hosts changing Airbnb? In this article, we explore the top 5 Airbnb trends taking place in 2019 to see where this giant of the sharing economy is headed.
Airbnb Statistics 2019
The popular online marketplace for arranging or offering lodging now has nearly 2 million instantly bookable listings, giving its 150 million users worldwide a virtually endless number of options to experience destinations far and near.
In 2019, Europe is the clear leader when it comes to vacation rental properties, accounting for 60 percent of all listings. The United States accounts for 20 percent, and other countries together take the remaining 20 percent.
With around 77,000 listings for room and apartment rentals, London outnumbers all other European cities, but Paris, Rome, and Copenhagen are not far behind.
To date, Airbnb hosts have earned $65 billion. Airbnb itself raised $3.4 billion, and its total valuation is $35 billion. Analysts expect the value of Airbnb to keep increasing at a steady pace as more and more adults start to participate in the sharing economy.
Airbnb has enormous potential for growth in India, where less than 1 percent of all listings are located. According to Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Airbnb, India is set up for success, and the company sees it as a long-term commitment, ranking among the top 5 countries with the biggest potential, alongside China.
Airbnb Trends You Need to Know About
Whether you’re an avid Airbnb user who enjoys finding attractive listings or a host who wants to create unforgettable experiences, you can benefit from following the latest Airbnb trends and keeping with up the industry. Listed below are the top 5 Airbnb trends in 2019 and beyond.
1. Going Tiny
Airbnb guests around the world are going tiny, preferring cozy huts and off-the-grid houses to high-rise apartments, beach properties, and historic city centers. According to Airbnb, tiny houses experienced an increase of 125 percent year over year in bookings, and Airbnb’s forecast shows that the trends is not slowing down—quite the opposite.
What do guests love the most about tiny houses? Their intimacy, for example. Unlike lavish apartments with multiple beds, air conditioning, and more electronics than an Amazon truck on Black Friday, tiny houses feel like real homes designed for real people.
Instead of being a limitation, their small size is a selling point. Guests like how tiny houses make them feel more in harmony with nature, allowing them to get a taste of a simpler life before they return back to their usual routine in the city, where they are surrounded by concrete, computers, and commuters.
2. Green Vacations
The latest Booking.com sustainability travel report revealed that 55 percent of global travelers are more determined than ever to make more sustainable travel choices, and Airbnb listings suggest that this trend is already taking place.
Eco-friendly travelers want to reduce their carbon footprint, lower their energy and water consumption, use greener transport, and keep up with environmental practices while they are on holidays. Hosts are listening and making their rentals greener by having different colored bins in the kitchen for recycling, using environmentally friendly lights, storing certain food items in sealable containers, providing canvas shopping bags, and replacing various personal hygiene and cleaning with greener alternatives.
Many Airbnb hosts have begun to advertise a toxin-free, foam-free, construction with local and sustainable materials, organic cotton sheets and natural mattresses, and close proximity to organic stores. Hopefully, this Airbnb trend won’t be with us just in 2019 because the entire planet benefits from it.
3. Airbnb Alternatives
Airbnb is doing great in 2019. In fact, it now owns approximately 20 percent of the entire US consumer lodging market, which is more than Hilton. But Airbnb competitors haven’t been just silently watching the company grow. Instead, they’ve been improving their services, trying to beat Airbnb at its own game.
Here are the top 5 most popular Airbnb alternatives in 2019:
- Homestay: Some travelers are convinced that Airbnb has lost its original purpose: to offer genuine hosted experiences provided by independent, local hosts and not large corporations capitalizing on the sharing economy. Homestay is great for students who are learning a new language, studying abroad on Erasmus, or doing an internship, travelers who want more interaction with hosts, and everyone else who seeks true value and affordability. The only downside is that the number of listings on Homestay is somewhat limited compared with Airbnb.
- VRBO: Operating since 1996, VRBO is a trustworthy property rental service with secure payments, 24/7 support, and 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. VRBO makes the entire booking process easy, allowing you to narrow down its listings using detailed search filters. Property owners can either pay an annual fee or per booking, giving them more flexibility to maximize their earnings.
- OneFineStay: A professional photographer/interior designer can make any run-down shack seem inviting. If you don’t have time to compare hundreds or thousands of listings on Airbnb and are willing to pay extra for a luxury experience, OneFineStay may be the ideal Airbnb alternative for you. Featuring only the most attractive lodgings in the world, OneFineStay accepts only 1 in 10 hosts to guarantee maximum satisfaction.
- FlipKey: Owned by TripAdvisor, the company behind the popular travel platform of the same name, FlipKey is a major Airbnb alternative with around 300,000 listings across 11,000 cities. It’s biggest selling point to hosts is the fact that properties listed on FlipKey also appear as search results on TripAdvisor.
- Wimdu: You can think of Wimdu as a meta-search engine for short-term rentals. The site searches listings on hundreds of different providers, including Vrbo, Airbnb, and Booking.com, allowing users to easily compare prices and find the most attractive rental available. At the time of writing, Wimdu has over 350,000 vacation rentals located in some of the most attractive destinations in the world.
As you can see, Airbnb is certainly not the only sheriff in town, and it’s possible that it will have to one day hand over its badge and accept second place.
4. Keyless Entry
Both guests and hosts can agree on one thing: keyless entry is the future of short-term rentals. Today, there are many affordable smartlocks that can completely automate the check-in and check-out process and give hosts more time to focus on improving the quality of their accommodation instead of wasting hours and hours every week in traffic, delivering keys to guests.
Some smartlocks are actually not that smart at all because they don’t connect to the internet. Such locks typically feature a keypad as well as a traditional keyhole. While affordable, locks that don’t connect to the internet tend to be limited in functionality.
A connected smartlock can be managed remotely and programmed to accept different entry codes at different times of the day. They can send notifications when guests enter and leave, integrate with other smart security devices, and accept alternative authentication methods, such as voice or a fingerprint scan.
When selecting a smartlock, it’s always better to go with an established manufacturer over a small startup. The last thing you want is to end up with a buggy smartlock whose manufacturer has no intention of making it secure and usable.
5. Airbnb Plus
Aware that some travelers avoid Airbnb because they seek guaranteed quality, the company recently launched a new service, called Airbnb Plus, whose purpose is to list a carefully curated selection of the highest quality homes with hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail.
Whereas regular Airbnb currently has over 1.9 million listings in 191 countries, there are just a few thousand listings in Airbnb Plus at the moment, and most of them are in the world’s busiest cities, including Los Angeles, Shanghai, London, and Rome.
To make it to Airbnb Plus, hosts are required to complete a 100-point checklist, which covers everything from interior style to the kitchen equipment, comfort, TV and media entertainment, cleanliness, and more. To apply to the program, hosts are required to pay a one-time fee of $149 and have an average rating of 4.8 stars or higher.
Guests who decide to go with Airbnb Plus instead of the regular Airbnb can expect to pay an average of $250 per night. Every home is equipped with a lockbox, keypad, or a host who is on-call to greet you, so check-ins are always effortless.
More than a decade since its launch, Airbnb continues to reshape travelers’ expectations and play an integral role in the sharing economy. In this article, we described the top 5 Airbnb trends in 2019 and beyond to help guests and hosts alike understand the constantly evolving nature of travel and tourism.