Industry Update
Opinion Article13 March 2018

Airbnb, and the Battle for Hearts – and Homes

By Douglas Quinby , Vice President of Research at Phocuswright, Inc.

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It's shaping up to become one of travel's great competitive rivalries: Airbnb One has achieved global dominance in online hotel distribution, the other in private accommodation. But as Phocuswright Research has been forecasting for several years, the silos and segments within accommodation are collapsing as travelers increasingly consider and book both. Each of these online travel giants are moving aggressively into each other's turf and the stakes – the more than US$600 billion global travel accommodation market – are high.

Advertisements is the clear global leader by a significant multiple in virtually every major financial metric – gross bookings, revenue, profit and market cap. But with inventory, it's a very different picture. Booking's 1.2 million non-hotel accommodations pale in comparison to Airbnb's more than four million listings. Phocuswright's 2017 analysis of nearly 2.5 million online rental listings across Europe with Transparent showed Airbnb firmly ahead in supply across five key markets. has made clear its intentions to accelerate its growth in the private accommodation sector, while Airbnb has formally opened its platform for independent and boutique hotels, including partnerships with hotel technology firms to facilitate connectivity. Both present clear strategic threats to one another – Airbnb with its disruptive commission model for hotels, and with its uncanny ability to acquire and convert demand. Both companies also face key strategic challenges:

  1. How will make inroads on supply with a higher commission model for owners and a rigid insistence on instant booking and confirmation?
  2. And how will Airbnb expand its supply portfolio into hotels without diluting its core brand positioning?

Go deep into the European vacation rental market with Phocuswright's Private Accommodation in Europe: 2010-2020. The report provides market sizing and projections, in-depth analysis of key players, insights on travelers' attitudes, and much more.

Get answers to these questions and more directly from top executives at Airbnb and during Phocuswright Europe, 15-17 May in Amsterdam.

Register through Friday, 16 March to save on your ticket!

Douglas Quinby

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