Airbnb doubles in Africa where South Africa is its largest base with rapid growth
Who doesn’t love to travel ?
Exotic destinations, new cities and meeting new people are all part of life’s experiences. Obviously costs is a key factor which prevents us from constantly jet setting around the globe. Whilst there are always special deal on flights, when it comes to accommodation, unless you are on a loyalty program with a hotel group, getting a real price cut on your accommodation seems to be rare. And if you do find a great deal, then as luck would have it, the flight is expensive.
Well not anymore as a software company has completely disrupted the hospitality industry by allowing property owners around the world to rent out their property and set their own rate for the accommodation.
The company is called Airbnb and has become a worldwide phenomenon as travellers turn to the site and the app to discover new locations at affordable rates. Founded in San Francisco in 2008, there are now more than 1.5 million homes available to book through Airbnb worldwide and more than 45 million people have travelled with the service globally.
Property Owners are able to list their properties and their facilities such as WiFi, Air-condition, number of bedrooms, Washing Machine, Kitchen etc. Most importantly, each property has user-reviews. These are reviews by people who have previously stayed at the accommodation and provide their feedback and rating. These comments are no editable by the property owner and therefore provide credibility. Any issues are listed and the property owner has the ability to respond. Ultimately this allows the potential traveller to make up his or her own mind about staying at that location. 70% of people leave reviews on Airbnb which is the method that builds trust.
But its not just about paying less.
People prefer not to stay at an anonymous hotel in a new city but would rather stay in an apartment right in the middle of the city surrounded by the locals.
For me, having specific dietary requirements, Airbnb is ideal to find an apartment that has kitchen so that I don’t have to eat every meal in a restaurant (saves money too). As a family travelling with kids, instead of booking a family-room or two rooms in a hotel, being able to have access to a 2 bedroom apartment is ideal and much cheaper.
As Airbnb continues to dominate around the globe, Africa is also making its presence felt on the platform.
I spoke to Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky about the company’s Africa plans. Brian explained that Airbnb offers entrepreneurs a platform to create wealth if they have a property that they can rent to travellers. After Airbnb expansion into Cuba, Airbnb had to overcome challenges around internet literacy and mobile payment infrastructure which provide important lessons for Airbnb’s growth in Africa. “people travel not to be an outsider, they want to be a local. So Airbnb is about experiences not just about renting out space” says Brian.
Brian shared that in Africa the company has already seen some impressive growth. In just the last year:
- The number of listings in Africa has more than doubled
- The number of people staying in Airbnb listings in the region has increased by 145%,
- The number of Africans using Airbnb to travel has increased by 139%
Some notable South African stats over the last 12 months include:
- South Africa is currently the largest market for Airbnb in Africa with 9,400 homes listed, an increase of 138%.
- South Africa is becoming an increasingly popular global destination, with the number of people staying in places booked through Airbnb in South Africa increasing by a staggering 257%.
- South Africans are embracing the service as well, with those using Airbnb to travel increasing by 163%.
- While most South Africans that have used Airbnb have travelled within the country, the most popular international destinations include the US, Italy, France and the UK.
- Across Africa, two of the five largest markets for Airbnb are in South Africa including Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Airbnb has appointed Nicola D’Elia as General Manager for Middle East & Africa. Previously, Nicola was responsible for Facebook’s growth and partnerships in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. D’Elia will build out a team to accelerate Airbnb’s growth in the region.
Airbnb is a great example of a win-win situation. Entrepreneurs can rent out a private room, an entire house and even offer a room-to-share. Travellers have their pick of the best accommodations with a personal touch and at cheaper prices than hotel.
As Bran puts it “People lives in home – why wouldn’t you want to stay in them when you travel ?” This is why a 1million people use Airbnb per night !