In 2007, three travelers arrived for a design conference in San Francisco and checked in at the Rausch Street home of Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. Though they didn’t know it at the time, these three guests (Michael, Kat and Amol) would become the first members of the Airbnb global community of guests and hosts now spanning over 191 countries and 81,000 cities worldwide.
They were the community foundation for what Airbnb has grown into today: an end-to-end travel platform that combines where you stay, what you do, and how you get there, all in one place. Michael, Kat, and Amol were Airbnb’s first three guest arrivals; now, a decade later, three guests check into an Airbnb listing every half-second. These guests can now choose from 6 million homes, yurts, treehouses, boats and more, scattered across six continents, as well as over 25,000 Experiences available in over 1,000 cities. Airbnb is proud to celebrate a new milestone: since its founding, half a billion guests have checked in at Airbnb listings worldwide.
Since the first stay hosted by Brian and Joe in San Francisco, the Airbnb community has grown rapidly, with the power of global network effects expanding it to nearly every corner of the world—every new host offering another choice for guests. Airbnb is delivering people-powered magical travel that is local, authentic and unique, and providing economic empowerment to millions of hosts worldwide. Since Airbnb was founded, hosts have earned over $65 billion on our platform.
These 500 million Airbnb guest arrivals have occurred at unique homes and properties spread all over the world, including a range of unusual listing types. Airbnb has an unrivaled global community of hosts and guests—Airbnb can connect travelers to 6 million places to stay and thousands of incredible experiences around the world. There are over 14,000 tiny houses listed on Airbnb, over 4,000 castles, and over 2,400 tree houses. The most-visited private room in Airbnb history is in a castle in Ireland hosted by Peter, who has spent over a decade restoring his 600 year-old home.
And even as private-home offerings grew, propelling the platform to its strongest year ever in 2018, the number of rooms available on Airbnb in properties that hosts categorized as boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other hospitality venues such as hostels and resorts has more than doubled. Guests at these properties rated their stays an average 4.7 out of five stars, the same rating as the average for the entire platform.
Through the ten years of Airbnb growth worldwide, some things have remained constant. For years, the most popular listing on Airbnb has been the Mushroom Dome in Aptos, California, which is still the most-visited listing in the entire Airbnb community. Hosts Kitty and Michael have been hosting guests in the Mushroom Dome since 2009, when it became one of the first Airbnb listings located outside a city. Since then, it has amassed nearly 1,300 reviews, with guests coming from all over the world to stay in its cozy, 100-square-foot confines.
Over 75 cities worldwide have now hosted at least 1 million guest arrivals on Airbnb, a diverse array of metro areas spread across every continent except Antarctica. Cities that have hosted over 1 million guest arrivals include Auckland, New Zealand; Mexico City, Mexico; Cape Town, South Africa; Havana, Cuba; Split, Croatia; Chongqing, China; and Busan, South Korea.
As the Airbnb community has grown, the geographic distribution of guest arrivals has expanded. In 2009, 86 percent of all Airbnb guest arrivals were at listings in our 10 biggest markets. By 2013, that percentage dropped to 34 percent. In 2018, just 13 percent of Airbnb guest arrivals were at listings in its ten biggest markets. Today, over 900 cities worldwide have at least 1,000 Airbnb listings apiece.
Every night, new connections are being forged between Airbnb hosts and guests from over 191 different countries. Since hosts in Cuba joined the Airbnb community in 2015, they have hosted guests from 108 different countries. Hosts in the United States, meanwhile, have hosted guests from nearly every country or territory on Earth. Guests from Lesotho are staying with hosts in Bulgaria; guests from Norway are staying with hosts from Djibouti; guests from Greenland are staying with hosts from Cambodia.
Since the early days of Airbnb, the community has also become more demographically as well as geographically diverse. Though the first Airbnb hosts (Brian and Joe) were men, today, over half of hosts worldwide are women. Over 1 million hosts are over the age of 50, and over 400,000 hosts worldwide are over 60 years old, with seniors (hosts 60+) representing the fastest-growing demographic of hosts in the US. Over 1.5 million hosts on Airbnb are also guests on Airbnb.
And considering Airbnb’s popularity with younger consumers, the company anticipates the Airbnb community is only just getting started. Nearly 70 percent of Airbnb bookings in the past three years have been made by guests under the age of 40. All-time, millennials globally have spent over $31 billion on booking travel on Airbnb.
This article was first published by BizTech Africa on the 29th March 2019.