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Airbnb Says It Has Hosted More Than Half a Billion Travelers Since Its Launch

Deanna Ting
Airbnb Says It Has Hosted More Than Half a Billion Travelers Since Its Launch

Airbnb, the San Francisco-based homesharing giant valued at some $35 billion, is touting its strength with new statistics about its business — but do they really tell the whole story of the company’s growth and evolution?

Here’s a rundown of what the company reported on Wednesday:

Airbnb Guest Arrivals and Listings

  • Airbnb has hosted more 500 million guests since the company launched in 2008. Airbnb previously reported that on August 26, 2018, the company had seen a total of 400 million guest arrivals, meaning that its total number of guest arrivals jumped by 100 million in just the last eight months.
  • The company has more than 6 million listings in 191 countries and 81,000 cities worldwide. Airbnb released this statistic on March 1, days after its rival, Booking.com, announced it had a total of 5.7 alternative accommodation listings.
  • Three Airbnb guests check into an Airbnb listing every half second.
  • More than 75 cities around the world have hosted at least 1 million Airbnb guests each.
  • In 2009, the overwhelming majority (86 percent) of Airbnb’s guest arrivals took place in its 10 biggest markets. By 2013, that percentage fell to 34 percent. In 2018, that percentage was only 13 percent.
  • More than 900 cities worldwide have at least 1,000 Airbnb listings each.

About Airbnb’s Hosts

  • Airbnb’s hosts have collectively earned $65 billion since the company began. Airbnb reported that female hosts earned nearly $20 billion in 2017 and 2018 alone.
  • The majority (56 percent) of Airbnb’s hosts are women, up 1 percent from March 2018.
  • The fastest-growing demographic of Airbnb hosts in the U.S. is hosts over the age of 60.
  • More than 1.5 million Airbnb hosts are also Airbnb guests.

About Airbnb Experiences

  • Airbnb’s tours and activities business, Airbnb Experiences (originally launched as Airbnb Trips), now offers more than 25,000 experiences in more than 1,000 cities worldwide, having added 20,000 more Experiences since February 2018.
  • In February 2018, Airbnb reported that its Experiences product had grown 2,500 percent in one year with a total of 5,000 Experiences in 60 different destinations.

The new statistics are being released just weeks after Airbnb announced its intent to buy last-minute hotel booking platform HotelTonight, and a week after reports began to swirl about the company’s interest in investing anywhere from $100 million to $200 million in India-based hotel company Oyo Rooms.

In January, Airbnb also reported it was profitable in 2018 for the second straight year.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has also noted previously that he hopes to have the company “IPO-ready” in 2019. More recent remarks from co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk suggested the company would likely not go public until 2020 at the earliest. Releasing these numbers demonstrates both to the public — and to Airbnb’s investors — that the company is on its way to a successful IPO.

One interesting thing to note from Wednesday’s statistics is the data surrounding the geographic expansion of Airbnb’s guest arrivals. The fact that the number of guest arrivals to Airbnb’s historically 10 largest markets has decreased to 13 percent in 2018 seems to support a recent report from Morgan Stanley Research that suggested Airbnb’s growth in its most mature markets was beginning to wane amid stricter short-term rental regulations and increased competition from competitors such as Booking and Expedia.

Overall, the metrics released Wednesday signify the company’s growth for the past 10 years to investors and to anyone anticipating an imminent IPO.

But there are other metrics that remain unknown regarding the size of Airbnb’s accommodations providers, how much of its listings are more traditional hotel inventory, and whether Airbnb’s newest product, Airbnb Plus, has successfully grown its market share. They include:

  • Exactly how many individual hosts are there who use Airbnb? How large is that Airbnb community of hosts who provide Airbnb’s accommodation listings?
  • Just how many of those 6 million listings are for hotels? How much has Airbnb’s hotels inventory grown since February 2018 when the company officially opened up its platform to welcome more hotels?
  • Exactly how many Airbnb Plus listings are there today? Did the company ever meet its goal of having 75,000 Airbnb Plus listings by the end of 2018?

If and when Airbnb ultimately decides to initiate a public offering process, hopefully the answers to those questions and others will finally be revealed.

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