Airbnb’s new plans for local growth, domestic travel

Airbnb has launched a pair of initiatives to support local travel and economic growth on a global scale: a series of partnerships with destinations around the world, and “Go Near,” aimed at supporting local economies through local travel. The initiatives come as the travel industry takes initial steps to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airbnb says its booking data shows that travel is beginning to bounce back and new survey research from the company has identified a series of trends that may shape travel in the weeks and months to come.

The new engagement program includes a national marketing campaign to engage Airbnb guests with lesser-visited parks, trails and rivers near their destinations. Through other partnerships, Airbnb will share travel data and insights as well as allow these organizations to leverage the company’s platform and channels. 

In a survey commissioned by Airbnb, nearly half of U.S. respondents said they will prefer to stay within a day’s drive for their first trip once lockdown restrictions lift. Since the pandemic began, the percentage of bookings made on Airbnb within 200 miles, a round trip travelers can generally complete on one tank of gas, has grown from one-third of all bookings in February to over half in May.  

From May 17 to June 6, there were more nights booked for travel to Airbnb listings in the U.S. than during the same time period in 2019. 

Airbnb superhosts have seen particular gains. From May 17 to June 6, 55% of the nights booked for travel to listings in the U.S. were with superhosts, a 10-point increase over the same period in 2019. Globally, over the most recent weekend (June 5-7), the company saw year-over-year growth in gross booking value (not including cancellations or alterations) for all Airbnb reservations made around the world for the first time since February.

The top 10 trending destinations in the U.S., according to Airbnb’s data, include:

•   Big Bear Lake, California

•   Miramar Beach, Florida

•   Panama City Beach, Florida

•   Smoky Mountains

•   Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

•   Destin, Florida

•   Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

•   Branson, Missouri

•   Palm Springs Desert, California

•   Port Aransas, Texas