Airbnb, a tech startup from San Francisco that has disrupted the hospitality space by easily enabling travelers to rent rooms and other spaces directly from residents or hosts in a given city, now has 4 million listings in 191 countries across the globe — numbers that are significant because this means they now have more options listed than the top five hotel brands combined.
The top five hotel brands in the world are Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., InterContinental Hotels Group, Wyndham Worldwide Corp and Hyatt Hotels Corporation. As a point of comparison, their total number of rooms add up to about 3.3 million. This extreme growth on the part of Airbnb may be partially fueled by the platform’s adaptation of a feature called Instant Book, which allows guests to make reservations with a single click. This feature was first introduced in 2010, and before its existence users had to submit a reservation request that was subsequently approved or denied by a potential host. Reports estimate that about 1.9 million of Airbnb’s listings are currently instantly bookable. The company also recently had its biggest night of the year, when on Aug. 5 more than 2.5 million travelers found accommodations by using the service, numbers any hotel chain would be ecstatic to reach.
Another point of interest for hotel operators is that Airbnb has made inroads into the business travel sphere, long thought to be safe from such an incursion. In fact, 2017 has marked Airbnb’s strongest push into that area yet, with 250,000 companies now using Airbnb for business travel, compared to 2015 wherein only 250 companies were using the company to travel. These numbers, of course, include larger organizations, not just self-employed business travelers, who have used the platform for some time.
However, 90 percent of the company’s revenue still stems from tourist and personal stays, but business travel marks a likely next frontier for the company that is posing an increasing threat to traditional hospitality models. Although, it should be noted that there are may travelers that still prefer the consistency and service provided by a traditional hotel stay, as well as the locations, which are increasingly incorporating localized touches to entice a younger generation of travelers. Hotel status and reward points are also a major selling point that hotel brands still have over Airbnb, which is especially enticing for business travelers who spend a great deal of time using the same hotels.
Industry experts say that a major reason for Airbnb’s growth is its expansion into other countries, including big strides in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Italy. Of its now 4 million listings, about 660,000 listings are in the United States.