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Friday, 12 June, 2020, 17 : 10 PM [IST]

Airbnb to shit its focus on domestic travel & local experiences in India through Go Near campaign

Home sharing platform Airbnb India said it is shifting its focus on domestic tourism and local experiences to revive business through Go Near campaign.

The company said that Indian hosts earned over INR 190 crore in 2018 using its platform and it continues to focus on providing them support during these times.

Amanpreet Bajaj, Country Manager - Airbnb India, said that people in India are looking for staycations and holidays within 300 kms of their location preferably at secluded locations.

"Travellers want control over the place they are staying in and they do not wish to share it with others. Therefore, Airbnb, as a concept, lends itself to the need of the hour and will be the platform of choice as it offers entire accommodation options that can be booked by an individual or family," he said.

Since the pandemic began, the percentage of bookings made on Airbnb which have been within 300 kms ( a round trip travelers can generally complete on one tank of fuel), has grown from one-third in February to over a half of all bookings in May.

As states lift restrictions and allow inter state travel, millennials and GenZ travellers will lead the travel segment leading to fast recovery.

Airbnb said that its booking data shows people are preferring to take domestic holidays and local experiences. Conscious choices and preference for sustainable travel will lead recovery, benefiting communities and encouraging safe travel.

Therefore, the company will focus more on partnering with local communities to promote travel and economic growth.

In India, it has signed partnerships with SEWA, Princess Diya Kumari Foundation in Jaipur and Nagaland Tourism to promote community-based tourism.
Highlighting key travel trends in India, Airbnb said that holidays in farms, nature holidays off the beaten track, and other unique destinations that are a road trip away are expected to do well. This will benefit the local economy, and for travellers it will also result in more unique, individual experiences.

In India, 51% of Airbnb's business comprises domestic bookings (people from India travelling within the country) and it is growing at 70-80%.

"It will witness further boost in short to medium term," Bajaj said.

Key domestic markets for Airbnb are Goa, New Delhi, Rajasthan, Mumbai and Bengaluru, but the platform is also seeing a surge in searches for stay options in nearby cities especially near metros like Alibag, Lonavala, Panchgani near Mumbai.

The most common words in recent wishlists by Airbnb users are ‘beach’ and ‘summer 2020’, and in India, 70% of visitors to the platform are searching with dates starting July 2020.

Airbnb’s new product called online experiences which includes online classes to learn yoga, fitness, cocktail-making and cooking across different cities in India has done well.

The company claimed that India has seen a 3x increase in bookings since it was launched over a month ago. (Source: Mint)

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