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There's no place like (a) home: More than a quarter of all online lodging bookings were through Airbnb

by Arye Zucker - May 16, 2019

Image credit: martin-dm

With news of an Airbnb IPO on the horizon, Rakuten Intelligence explored the impact the home-sharing company is having on the rest of the U.S. hotel industry. Are more people choosing to stay in a home versus in a hotel? Or is staying in a stranger’s house still too weird? Turns out, it’s trending towards the former, and it’s not that close.

Airbnb made up more than a quarter (25.2 percent) of the revenue generated by the 13 lodging brands we measured--by far the largest individual share--and that dominance doesn’t show many signs of slowing down.

More buyers are snuggling up with Airbnb, too. From 2017-2018, Airbnb’s buyers grew by 33.4 percent, and revenue was up over 40 percent. But perhaps most impressively, 27.9 percent of people who booked a place to stay online booked through Airbnb and it owned 25.1 percent of all nights booked in 2018.

Airbnb revenue up 40.3 percent

It peaks around summer vacation but shows growth year-round

Traditional hotels remain king, and Airbnb is challenging the throne

While traditional hotels still rest comfortably as the go-to lodging choice, especially for stays of three days or fewer, Airbnb is showing itself to be a formidable challenger. In 2017, among all online lodging shoppers, 76.5 percent booked at a traditional hotel. But the share of people who booked only one reservation with Airbnb grew from 11.5 percent in 2017 to 13.8 of all online bookings in 2018.

Airbnb guests booked an average of about seven nights in 2018, the most among any of the lodging brands studied. The closest hotel brand was Marriott, which saw its guests book an average of about six nights, despite being the most expensive, at $168.69 per night across its portfolio, versus the overall average of $152.07.

Marriott buyers shell out more per night than any hotel brand

Airbnb buyers spend an average of $16.21 less per night

Online booking revenue driven by females and young people

Though the gender breakdown for Airbnb and hotels has stayed relatively static, female guests made up a larger percentage of reservations for both Airbnb and traditional hotels. While females constituted a little more than half of Airbnb and hotel buyers, they contributed 62.1 percent of Airbnb stays and 58.6 percent of hotel reservations.

More than a third of Airbnb buyers are 25-34 year-olds, who comprised 47.1 percent of all Airbnb stays. While this age cohort is the largest, the fastest growing one is 18-24-year-olds, up 21 percent year-on-year.

More than one-third of Airbnb buyers are 25-34

Group makes up nearly half of Airbnb stays

About this data

With a panel of over 5.5 million online shoppers, Rakuten Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Rakuten Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Rakuten Intelligence can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Rakuten Intelligence gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time, which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Rakuten Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.