Tourism

Airbnb fights back with love for strangers

Tara Harrison

Airbnb tackled the controversy surrounding the sharing economy in the travel industry at Travel Daze on Monday.

Conference presenters frequently spoke to the rise of Airbnb and Uber.

Tourism Minister, Senator Richard Colbeck said that he would like to ease regulation on traditional industries, like hotels, for an equitable playing field.

Expedia director Drew Bowering said that Airbnb had not affected hotel bookings, and suggested that it is a formalisation of what was always happening with home sharing and rentals.

These transactions were merely happening on different platforms before, such as Gumtree or via word of mouth.

The face of Airbnb in Australia, Sam McDonagh took to the Travel Daze stage with some staggering statistics.

83% of listings in Australia on Airbnb are people’s primary residence.

“We want to take advantage of the local community and doing things the locals do and that’s really important for us,” McDonagh said.

The obstacle to the brand was strangers, which they tackled through the ‘One Less Stranger’ campaign.

“Giving the brand to our community with user generated content was our platform to move through to the next phase,” McDonagh said.

“We are able to address the uncomfortable truth – strangers stay in your home.”

This led to the next campaign, Never a Stranger, which sees a 30-something female travelling the world and staying in people’s homes.

“It is something that hadn’t been done in the travel space,” McDonagh said.

“Folks genuinely want to have that locals experience, in not just a city but a neighbourhood.”



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