During the second Global Breakfast Update at the Crown Beach Resort and Spa yesterday, Airbnb’s market manager for host and community operations, Pauline Ramao, revealed 4900 inbound guests used the service in the Cook Islands last year.
She said the average age of the guests was 38 years and they stayed an average of 6.5 nights during their visit.
Ramao also said a total of 170 hosts, of which 55 per cent were females, leased their property through Airbnb, bringing them an average earning of $8500.
“We really think that the number of guests using Airbnb (in the Cook Islands) will continue to grow and we really want to work with the government and tourism corporation to grow that community but more to do it in a sustainable and a responsible way,” Ramao said while discussing how Airbnb works from an industry perspective, and how it can support the growth of the tourism industry.
According to Wikipedia, Airbnb is an American company which operates an online marketplace and hospitality service for people to lease or rent short-term lodging including holiday cottages, apartments, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms, to participate in or facilitate experiences related to tourism such as walking tours, and to make reservations at restaurants.
The company does not own any real estate or conduct tours; it is a broker which receives percentage service fees in conjunction with every booking, it added.
“Like all hospitality services, Airbnb is an example of collaborative consumption and sharing.”
Ramao said Airbnb would offer the local tourism industry an opportunity to attract more visitors into the country.
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation chief executive officer Halatoa Fua has welcomed the opportunity.
He said Airbnb had diversified its product from bed and breakfast offerings to working with the boutique resorts and hotels, among other interesting offers.
“The target market we have has a great synergy between us and Airbnb because we’re targeting self explorers and as seen in (Ramao’s) presentation, they have a lot of experiential clients who can come here to experience pristine environment and engage with the culture and the activities,” Fua said.
“Airbnb has only about 5000 people last year which is a very small base. They are growing at about 134 per cent, which is a rapid pace, but still the major online travel in terms of market share (booking.com and expedia) feeds through to the traditional hotels.”
Airbnb has over 4 million lodging listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries and has facilitated over 260 million check-ins.
Meanwhile Pacific Trade Investment and Airbnb will host a workshop for new and existing Airbnb hosts today at Crown Beach Resort and Spa.
There will be two workshop sessions. The first session will start at 9.30am and is tailored to new Airbnb hosts. Tea, coffee and light refreshments will be served from 11.40am to 12.40pm.
The final workshop session starts at 12.45pm and will be tailored to existing Airbnb hosts, running until around 2.45pm.