Airbnb India is among top 5 emerging markets globally, says India head

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Updated: March 13, 2019 11:50:01 AM

Airbnb, which competes with OYO in its homestay segment, said that travellers are looking for more real and authentic experiences and there is no better platform for Airbnb to offer that currently.

Airbnb India currently has 47,000 properties in home rentals listed on its platform.

Hospitality market in India is very vast and there is room for multiple formats to co-exist even as for Airbnb to win, no one has to lose, online marketplace for homestays Airbnb India’s Country Manager Amanpreet Bajaj told Financial Express Online.

Bajaj was responding to the question over popular chain of hotels and homes OYO’s growth in the homestay segment, in which it forayed in 2016.

What’s unique to Airbnb is the fact that we are a global company with more than 6 million listings. This gives (us) the benefits of the global network effect in a big way. We are opening up an entire experiential economy which is very powerful as hosts (on Airbnb) get opportunity to showcase their culture, passion and monetise it (underutilised homes) for their economic benefit. Also, travellers are looking for more real and authentic experiences and there is no better platform for Airbnb to offer that currently,” Bajaj said.

Airbnb India currently has 47,000 properties in home rentals listed on its platform. In near three years since its foray into India market, the country has become one of Airbnb’s key markets. Globally, Airbnb exists in 81,000 cities across 191 countries and has almost 6 million listings.

“We are still young in India. Our cofounder (Nathan Blecharczyk) also said that India is among the fastest growing markets for Airbnb. In fact out of all the emerging markets where Airbnb exists, India is among the top five,” Bajaj said.

Experience Matters

OYO, which manages other two dimensions of the homestay market as well — day-to-day operations & guest check in/checkout fulfillment, and home infrastructure — apart from allowing home owners to list their properties believed Airbnb could be a potential partner.

“There are three main components to the OYO home business model… Airbnb is only the first of these three — a successful platform that lets hosts lists their homes and guests discover and book them,” OYO’s chief growth officer Kavikrut had told Financial Express Online.

“In this regard, they are a potential partner to us,” Kavikrut said, adding that OYO is building and will own all the three layers of the business, which is necessary to unlock homes in a market like India. OYO Home currently operates more than 6,000 fully-managed residential accommodations in India and Dubai. The company expanded to Dubai in January this year.

However, Bajaj maintained that Airbnb managing the property and standardising it goes against its concept of letting hosts manage their properties in their unique ways. “We want people to bring their unique hospitality and neighbourhood experience to our platform and standardisation by Airbnb goes against that,” said Bajaj. On the other hand, Airbnb offers verified homes with standard amenities under its brand Airbnb Plus.

Leveraging Underutilised Assets

Bajaj claimed that more than 1.25 million Indian travelers going aborad stayed in Airbnb in last one year. On the other hand, the number of foreigners staying in Airbnb in India has risen by almost 75 per cent in last year. Overall, around 2 million people would have used Airbnb coming to India or going out of India in last one year.

On the B2B side, Airbnb for Work which is primarily for corporates to manage their travel has around 6,500 companies signed up on the platform. “This is becoming one of the fastest markets in the entire APAC region for us as it has grown by almost 4x in the last one year,” said Bajaj without disclosing the figures.

Also, 30 per cent of Airbnb for Work bookings saw people combining their weekend trip with the business trip, added Bajaj.

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