Airbnb Rooms reflects Chinese travelers' desire to connect

Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand, traditionally popular destinations for Chinese tourists, remain the most sought-after ports of call.

Airbnb has introduced a range of new features and upgrades to enhance guest experiences amid a robust recovery in the global tourism industry and a record-setting Q1 performance.

The home-sharing online marketplace, which anticipates over 300 million guest arrivals worldwide this year, has recently introduced Airbnb Rooms, a fresh interpretation of the original Airbnb concept, with 1 million listings available globally. Additionally, the company has unveiled numerous new features and upgrades, aimed at addressing feedback received from guests and hosts to enhance the entire Airbnb experience.

“With Airbnb Rooms, we’re getting back to the idea that started it all – back to our founding ethos of sharing,” noted Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb. “Airbnb Rooms are often more affordable than hotels, and they’re the most authentic way to experience a city. This is the soul of Airbnb.”

Airbnb Rooms is an innovative approach catering to the demand of guests, particularly the young generation. “It also reflects Chinese outbound travelers’ increasing willingness to connect with others from different backgrounds,” said Kong Zhiqiu, China Outbound Director at Airbnb.

Airbnb Rooms reflects Chinese travelers' desire to connect

Airbnb Rooms has been launched with 1 million listings globally.

Millions of visitors have been attracted to the launch release page and generating more qualified views, according to the data from Airbnb.

Airbnb was also off to a strong start this year with nights and experiences booked exceeding 120 million in the first three months, a record-high Q1 for the company and a 19 percent rise from the year earlier period. Cross-border nights booked, meanwhile, rose 36 percent during the same period.

Chesky also emphasized the huge potential growth opportunities presented by young travelers in Asia, including China, where nights booked jumped more than 40 percent between January and March over same period a year ago.

And there have been some changing trends in the post-COVID era, especially for Chinese outbound travelers.

Airbnb’s Chinese users have shown a strong preference for destinations in the APAC region, with Indonesia and Thailand emerging as trending hotspots. Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea have gained popularity among Chinese travelers as well. Meanwhile, Airbnb’s Chinese users are showing significant interest in European countries such as Spain, Germany, France and Italy, according to the data from Airbnb China.

Kong noted that Generation Z in China has become a driving force in outbound travel. They have become more flexible about travel destinations, prioritizing unique accommodation experiences such as glamping to reconnect with the world. The company introduced Airbnb Categories last year, offering over 60 different categories from castles and chateaus to farms, caves, and tree houses, for guests to find extraordinary stays in a brand new way that unlock unforgettable lodging options beyond their imagination.

“They also hope to meet enthusiastic and hospitable hosts, experience local delicacies and the local lifestyle, which are well suited in the Airbnb Rooms upgrade,” Kong said. “With innovative design, we enable them to easily explore destinations and Airbnb listings based on local festivals and show them total price including all fees across the app.”

Recognizing that China has successfully built a distinctive digital ecosystem that has nurtured its own user habits, Airbnb has placed a strong emphasis on localization at the product level since its initial days into the Chinese market. For instance, it introduced the Airbnb WeChat mini program a few years ago to enable its Chinese users to search for and share their desired listings with a simple tap of their fingers. Furthermore, it has undertaken numerous product localization initiatives, including integrating the foundational local digital services for Chinese users.

“This is our approach particularly designed to adapt to Chinese users’ habits and to lay a solid user-centric foundation in China,” Kong said. “And we also launch products and services based on the demand of Chinese users on a regular basis.”

Having perceived Chinese travelers’ increasing demand for more authentic cultural experiences and off-the-beaten destinations, the local team is working on a project to address the needs of local travelers.

“As we continue to innovate and grow, we want people to love our service, and that means obsessing over every detail,” Kong said.

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