Airbnb grapples with slow listing growth in major cities

Company is also diving further into travel

TRD New York /
Dec.December 11, 2017 04:50 PM

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

As Airbnb inches closer to going public, the company faces lackluster listing growth and questions over its expansion into more traditional hospitality ventures.

Growth of listings in New York, Paris, Rome, London, Barcelona, Amsterdam and other cities, for example, slowed in 2017, the Information reported. The number of nights that homes in these cities were listed as available increased at a faster pace than the volume of listings, which hints that hospitality professionals were behind more of these listings.

Overall listings grew to 4 million in the second quarter of this year, a 14 percent increase. But major cities like New York City and Paris make up a large portion of the company’s listings — so a decline in listing growth could dramatically impact these numbers.

At the same time, Airbnb is venturing deeper into the luxury travel market. Last month Bloomberg reported that the company was bidding on Wyndham Worldwide Corporation’s European vacation-rental business. And at an event Airbnb hosted two weeks ago, CEO Brian Chesky noted that the company has 17,000 boutique hotel rooms on its website.

When asked at the event why Airbnb allows commercial property investors and property managers to list on the site, Chesky said the company needs to be “more inclusive of who belongs on Airbnb.” He said, however, that Airbnb isn’t “leaving our roots.” The company currently has a $31 billion valuation.

“It’s a really interesting question for Airbnb, and one they’re continuing to struggle with: How do you solve the supply problem without diluting the core brand?” Douglas Quinby, a senior vice president at the travel industry research firm Phocuswright, told the Information. [TheInformation] — Kathryn Brenzel 

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