The number of nights booked on Airbnb for international travel by Indian guests more than doubled in the first quarter of 2023, with popular travel destinations including the US, UK and Europe.
With high demand for travel this summer and most people looking for affordable alternatives, a senior company official said they are catering to varied demand by offering a wide range of listings across different price segments.
The company has over 80% of its private rooms under $100 a night (Rs 8,235), with a global average rate of $67 a night (Rs 5,517). The number of nights booked on Airbnb for international travel by Indian guests more than doubled in Q1 2023 compared with the same period in 2022, the company said. Popular destinations include the UK, US and Europe. The overall nights booked in India grew by 70% in calendar year 2022 as compared with 2019. Goa, Bengaluru, Pune, Delhi and Kullu top the charts for domestic travel in India.
“Travel recovery is in full swing. At the same time, affordability and feasibility is important. Rooms besides other features will be relevant to 4 million hosts who have so far welcomed 1.4 billion guests in almost every country across the globe,” said Amanpreet Singh Bajaj, Airbnb’s general manager for India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
He added, “The post-Covid world has seen a diverse range of demand in India. While some travellers prioritise budget-friendly options, others seek unique and immersive experiences. We cater to this varied demand by offering a wide range of listings across different price ranges. Our platform allows travellers to choose from a spectrum of options, from rooms to apartments, villas and unique accommodations.”
More travellers are seeking off-beat destinations, particularly the Gen Z and millennials. “Offbeat destinations allow you to take in local culture and natural beauty. Long-term stays have been a growing segment as much as 30 days in cities like Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai as it provides flexibility, comfort and amenities needed by digital nomads working in a hybrid format,” Bajaj told FE.
Family travel remains popular among Indians and has witnessed a remarkable surge of over 110% year-on-year as per data until March 2023.
“The strong enthusiasm reflects the growing confidence and eagerness among Indian travellers to explore new destinations, connect with local communities and immerse in rich cultural heritage. We are committed to working closely with the government and industry stakeholders to support and accelerate the ongoing travel recovery,” said Bajaj.
Globally, Airbnb has plans to rework the app with AI by mid-2024, integrating GPT4 into their app. However, Bajaj said AI and machine learning have already been deployed in the app to improve customer service.
“We use computer vision models to help understand millions of listing photos and automatically identify them by room type, view, amenities and more,” he said.
The company has also introduced 50 new guest features and 25 host features on its platform this year, including ‘Airbnb Rooms’ and ‘Host Passport’. The new features enable enhanced personal connection with the community and local hosts, besides enabling sharing of stories about the city or neighbourhood and giving detailed personal information on the platform.