The Growth of Airbnb: Why more and more homeowners are joining the service each year

September 8, 2016

With over 1.5 million listings in 190 countries, Airbnb is set to become one of the most disruptive forces the industry has encountered. But why are homeowners crazy about sharing their space with strangers?

The platform, inspired by housemates who wanted to rent out their loft space, has skyrocketed beyond initial expectations. From an idea rejected by most reputable investors, to the fifth largest hotelier in the world based on number of beds, growth has been spectacular.. According to research firm Phocuswright:

“Airbnb, which doesn’t disclose bookings or revenue figures, likely generated about US $7.5 billion in gross bookings in 2015”

The growth doesn’t stop there, with Phocuswright forecasting that Airbnb will only trail Expedia Inc. and two other travel companies after this year. As well as transforming the hotel industry, Airbnb is often regarded as one of the trailblazers of the ‘share economy’ due to its focus

on peer-to-peer exchange.

It is easy to understand a traveller’s motivation to seek out affordable, authentic accommodation, but why has Airbnb become so popular amongst homeowners?

In a competitive job market, homeowners are finding inventive ways to supplement their income. Those with extra space in their home are identifying ways to turn it into cash, without the need for business qualifications or experience in hospitality. With Airbnb, a spare room and a little local knowledge can go a long way.

Entrepreneur Kelly Kampen, for example, was ‘skeptical but intrigued’ when she listed a spare room in her house in Bangkok. However, one spare room quickly became two, and Kelly has made $41,879 as an Airbnb host so far.

The main cause of concern for Hosts – the security of hosts and guests – has been overcome by Airbnb’s host protection insurance and host guarantee of up to £600,000.

Airbnb has always been ‘built on trust’, so user profiles, reviews and a verification process are set to ensure that every host feels secure and comfortable with his or her guests. Launched in 2011, the Airbnb Social Connections feature connects with Facebook to identify mutual friends of guests and hosts, adding another layer of confidence to both parties.

As Airbnb grows it’s building in more ways to make hosting safer and easier for its Hosts and Guests, such as providing verified property photography free of charge. However, there are still many elements that make hosting very hard work. The two main reasons that homeowners do not become Airbnb Hosts are time and expertise.

What began with a loft space advertisement has become a great way for Hosts to make the most of their vacant homes and bolster their income. With the support of Houst, more Hosts are able to take advantage of all that Airbnb has to offer and also increase the performance of their property listings.

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