Here are the top Airbnb trends and destinations for 2022
It’s no secret that the travel industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, but some interesting trends have emerged with UK travelers embracing staycations, hosting and working remotely.
Here, Catherine Powell, Global Head of Hosting at Airbnb (opens in a new tab)tells us about the travel platform’s new launches and what to expect for 2022.
How has the pandemic changed the way people travel?
It had a revolutionary impact on the way people travel. People have more flexibility, they expect more flexibility, we’re seeing companies provide more flexibility, which means people really can travel anytime, anywhere and can stay longer. From now on, long-term stays (28 days or more) represent 20% of our activity.
What other trends have you seen emerging this year?
The key trend has been flexibility: people can travel anytime and anywhere, they are no longer locked into dates or where they want to go. So in May we introduced the “I am flexible” feature, which was all about that. This feature has already been used over half a billion times.
We’ve also added four new categories: “ski in, ski out”, “luxury”, “off the grid” and some very cool eco-retreats. In fact, green homes have been one of the fastest growing categories people are searching for right now. Then we have a wacky one called “quirky”, which are really quirky lists. For example, in the UK we have a UFO, we have the Spice Girls bus and something called Moon conker. These unique listings have grown by 45% since the pandemic, and it’s all driven by the trend toward flexibility.
Has accommodation increased significantly?
There has never been so much interest in accommodation. We’ve had 100,000 cities have had at least one Airbnb booking this year and 6,000 cities have had it for the first time. We have more than 4 million guests and 90% of them are individuals, whether they are students or retirees, whether they are health workers or teachers. Another feature we just introduced called “Ask a Super Host” where you can ask them about anything, from photos, what to call your listing, if your house is interesting enough, etc. ., a kind of mentorship. We have over 500 ambassadors now.
Can you make a living from hosting on Airbnb?
Goodness, yes. In the UK alone, hosts have earned £225m, and since the pandemic new hosts have earned over $12.8bn. The average host in the UK pocketed around £1,000 this summer. Women have been particularly affected by the pandemic and so a few have turned to shelter. Today, 55% of our guests are women. By opening their homes and sharing their passions, they have collectively earned a record $70 billion1 since 2008 – with new hostesses earning more than $1 billion through Airbnb in just one year after the pandemic began.
What rentals are people looking for?
People are traveling in larger groups because they are traveling with their families, so we have seen a demand for larger homes, we have seen them traveling with their pets. So we told our hosts to allow pets to get more bookings. They were concerned about pet damage coverage, so we introduced a pet fee.
With more and more people working from home, Wi-Fi has been so important. This is the third most wanted feature, so we introduced it as a filter. It has now been used 288 million times. We’ve also introduced a Wi-Fi speed tool for hosts.
We are also very proud of our accessibility features. We now have 13 different filters for guests, such as entrance without steps, entrance wider than 32 inches, grab bar. We have a very rigorous process in place where any host who wants to promote their accessible feature must send us photos, and then our qualified experts check them for accuracy. We help hosts understand what they need, and then we give confidence to travelers with disabilities who need that security.
Is it difficult to adapt to these changes?
We are constantly innovating. Our two greatest strengths are that we are nimble and a technology company in the travel industry. So we can respond with innovation and product development. And second, our hosts who can respond in real time. If we ask them to allow pets, they can do so instantly. So, the core of our resilience during the pandemic and coming out of the pandemic is being able to respond very quickly, to trends in changing guest needs, and then being able to set our guests up for success.
What travel trends and destinations can we expect in 2022?
In the UK in particular we have seen the most amazing staycations, a revival of British summer holidays with destinations like Sandgate in Kent or Seaburn in County Durham. What we see now as we look to the winter holidays, and for 2022 are more diverse locations due to the opening of borders.
We see trending places in Spain. But these are not necessarily the big cities. It’s Cordoba, or Seville, and people are also interested in Trondheim in Norway, which is seeing a growth trend, and other places like Dubrovnik and Marseille. People are looking to travel, but they’re looking to travel to more interesting European destinations, not necessarily the big cities they’ve been to before.
The top 10 cities in the world accounted for 11% of our revenue, and now that figure has fallen to 6%. We will continue to see flexibility, we will continue to see longer stays and remote working.