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Airbnb Traffic Surges, Surpassing Older Brands

Traffic to the site is up more than 30% since last year

May 30, 2017 | Travel

According to data from SimilarWeb, Airbnb, one of the biggest successes of the sharing economy, is now drawing more traffic than any other hotel brand or metasearch site. In Q1 2017, Airbnb drew 106.9 million visits to its site, an increase of 31% from 2016.

Top 10 US Hotel & Accommodation Sites, Ranked by Total Traffic, Q1 2017 (millions and % change vs. same period of prior year)

That was more than metasearch sites Booking.com, which is owned by Priceline Group, as well as Expedia-owned Hotels.com. Airbnb is also outpacing the sites of hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton.

SimilarWeb also found that Airbnb users spent a daily average of 11 minutes 31 seconds on the company’s app, more time than was spent on Booking.com’s app, but not as high as the 14 minutes 56 seconds users spent on Hotels.com’s app.

Airbnb has found a strong user base among millennials. This demographic appears more willing to roll the dice on the sort of personalized travel experience that the home-sharing service offers, in lieu of more predictable—but often staid—offerings from hotels.

According to a March 2017 Maru/Matchbox survey of internet users in North America, 30% of respondents ages 18 to 34 used sharing economy services that gave them a space to stay, such as Airbnb. That compared with just 11% of those older than 35.

Older data from comScore found that millennial users—defined by the research firm as those ages 18 to 34—accounted for 66% of Airbnb’s mobile app users in June 2016.

Airbnb has not been content to rest on its laurels, however. The company is attempting to expand its portfolio of services to make it easy for guests to connect with tour guides and travel experience providers at destinations by providing personalized recommendations. Users can now book tours and other types of expeditions directly within the platform.

The company is also taking square aim at the business travel market, with plans to introduce a housing category called “Business Travel Ready.” Listings that fall into this classification will offer features common to business-minded hotels, such as a desk, Wi-Fi, a hairdryer and an iron.

These continued innovations may be why investors remain bullish on the company’s prospects. In March, Bloomberg reported that the company had closed a new funding round of $1 billion, giving the company a valuation of about $31 billion.

—Rahul Chadha

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