Siew Kum Hong, APAC director for the online hospitality marketplace, told the recent Skift Forum Asia event in Singapore that the region had fewer than a hundred thousand listings seven years ago and that Airbnb hosts in Asia Pacific have made US$10m in total earnings to date.
Despite the healthy jump, there’s still room for more and the company sees opportunities in markets across the region, from India and China which boast massive millennial populations, to emerging markets such as Vietnam and Indonesia.
Thanks to India’s burgeoning domestic travel market, Airbnb’s business has “gone from strength to strength” growing by 78% in the past year. (For more, read WARC’s report: How Airbnb is forging its ‘next wave of growth’ in APAC.)
It intends to double its marketing investment in India in 2019 to reach more consumers, increase awareness of the brand and embark on interesting partnerships.
Meanwhile in China, the market has become one of Airbnb’s fastest growing destinations worldwide and Siew shared that “We think China is going to be Airbnb’s number one origin market globally by 2020”.
While Airbnb’s focus on outbound travellers gave it “a real advantage” in its early days of entering China, localising its business has been instrumental to its success so far. It is the only country outside North America with a dedicated engineering team.
This includes rolling out market-specific product features and adaptations such as enabling WeChat login or integrating Chinese payment methods such as Alipay
Last year, Airbnb forced to suspend most of its listings and reservations in Japan due to tight compliance deadlines for the new ‘minpaku’ home-sharing law. The company channelled over US$30m towards rebuilding its community in a series of nationwide initiatives, such as educational meetups in over 60 cities.
“That plan is already paying dividends – it’s been working very well,” said Siew, adding that data from the national regulators now shows “almost two thirds of short-term rental properties registered in Japan are available on Airbnb”.
Siew described the brand’s journey in Asia as “very early days”, with the region poised to become a “key engine” moving forward.
Sourced from WARC