Airbnb 2024 Strategy (After the Summer 2024 Update)

Thibault Masson

Airbnb 2024 strategy

In 2024, Airbnb remains steadfast in its strategic focus, adhering to the same three pillars that shaped its agenda in the previous year. These pillars—Making Hosting Mainstream, Perfecting the Core Service, and Expanding Beyond the Core—outline a comprehensive roadmap as the company innovates and leads in the travel and hospitality industry, and much beyond.

Each pillar targets distinct yet interconnected goals, reinforcing Airbnb’s commitment to enhancing every aspect of its service and reach. 

Airbnb 2024 Strategy’s first pillar: Making hosting mainstream

The strategic pillar of “Making hosting mainstream” at Airbnb focuses on making the idea of hosting as popular as booking a stay. The goal is to encourage more people to consider opening their homes to guests. Here’s how Airbnb is supporting this goal:

What the Pillar Aims to Achieve

  • Promote Hosting: Airbnb wants more people to think of hosting as an easy and appealing option.
  • Highlight the Benefits: The company is also educating people about the benefits of hosting, like earning extra money and meeting new people.
  • Support for Hosts: Airbnb is improving the tools and support they offer to hosts to help them manage their listings better and provide great experiences to guests.

Steps Airbnb Has Taken

  • Maintaining High Standards: Airbnb removed thousands of listings that didn’t meet guests’ expectations to ensure that all stays were enjoyable.
  • Increasing Host Numbers: Even after removing some listings, the number of new hosts and listings grew by 17% from last year, showing healthy growth.
  • Expanding Globally: This growth isn’t just in one area; it’s happening worldwide, showing that the effort to promote hosting is a global initiative.

What the Airbnb team is busy Building

  • Ensuring a Smooth Platform: The engineering team works on making sure the website and app run smoothly and reliably, which includes faster loading times and fewer errors.
  • Making Hosting Affordable: They develop pricing strategies and promotions to make hosting more appealing and affordable compared to hotels.
  • Improving the Website and App: The team also works on making the website and app easier to use by improving how people search for listings and interact with the site.

Airbnb 2024 Strategy’s second pillar: Perfecting the core

At the heart of its mission, Airbnb strives to refine its core services to ensure affordability, reliability, and overall satisfaction. This pillar focuses on enhancing the platform’s functionality in key markets—primarily the US, Canada, France, the UK, and Australia—where Airbnb aims to solidify its presence as a leading choice for short-term stays under 28 days.

In the last few months, this effort has primarily centered around two key initiatives:

1. Making Quality Listings Emerge:

Airbnb has focused significantly on elevating the visibility and appeal of high-quality listings through several strategic measures:

  • Guest Favorites: Launched in November 2023, this feature highlights the most-loved homes on Airbnb, determined by ratings, reviews, and reliability data. Since its introduction, Guest Favorites have seen over 100 million nights booked, showcasing their popularity and the trust guests place in these high-rated listings. These listings not only have fewer issues and lower contact rates with Airbnb support but also enjoy higher rebooking rates, demonstrating their success and the positive response from guests.
  • Quality and Reliability Enhancements: In spring 2024, Airbnb introduced further enhancements to help guests distinguish top-tier accommodations. This includes a new feature that displays the percentile ranking for the top 1%, 5%, and 10% of homes, marked with a trophy icon, making it easier for guests to identify and choose the best places to stay. Additionally, the verification process has been expanded, with over 2 million listings across five countries now featuring a “verified” badge, and plans to extend this verification to 30 more countries.

2. Making the Most of the Airbnb App:

Recognizing the growing importance of mobile platforms, Airbnb has put considerable effort into enhancing its mobile app to increase user engagement and conversions:

  • Increased App Downloads and Usage: In the U.S., downloads of the Airbnb app surged by 60% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period the previous year. Moreover, global nights booked through the mobile app grew by 21% year-over-year, accounting for 54% of total nights booked during the quarter. This increase from 49% in the previous year indicates a shift towards mobile usage among Airbnb users.
  • Improved App Conversion Rates: The Airbnb app has been refined to convert better, meaning that more people who download and use the app end up booking their stays through it. A dedicated team has been focused on optimizing the app to enhance user experience and efficiency, contributing to a significant rise in overall platform performance.

Airbnb 2024 Strategy’s third pillar: Expand beyond the core

While the technical and marketing teams diligently work to optimize the existing services, Airbnb’s leadership is looking ahead, dedicating a significant portion of their efforts to this visionary pillar. 

Expanding beyond the core involves broadening the company’s offerings to include new international markets, longer stays, specialized housing solutions, and unique experiences. This multifaceted expansion plan aims to transform Airbnb from a platform primarily known for short stays into a versatile, multi-category marketplace.

As part of this strategy, Airbnb is also enhancing its customer profiling and data capabilities to eventually introduce an AI-powered concierge service that could tailor recommendations across its broadened array of services.

1. International Expansion:

Airbnb is actively investing in markets where it has less presence compared to its core markets, which include the U.S., Canada, Australia, France, and the U.K. The goal is to capture significant growth potential in these less saturated markets:

  • Growth in New Markets: In the first quarter, the growth in gross nights booked from these new markets was more than double that of the core markets. However, these markets still represent a minority of total nights booked, indicating substantial room for growth.
  • Target Markets: Key areas of focus include Latin America (with an emphasis on Mexico and Brazil), Europe (particularly Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands), and Asia (highlighting Japan, Korea, China, and India as longer-term targets).
  • Targeted Advertising and Partnerships: Implementing advertising campaigns and forming partnerships tailored to each new market to effectively engage local audiences and build a strong presence
  • Localizing the Product: Tailoring Airbnb’s app and services to meet local tastes, languages, and regulatory requirements is a crucial part of their strategy. For example, updates specific to the Chinese market have been implemented, with plans to bring similar improvements to Japan and Korea.

2. Expanding Beyond Short-Term Accommodations

Airbnb is transforming from a platform primarily focused on accommodations to a more diversified travel and lifestyle brand. This strategic shift includes:

  • Multi-Vertical Expansion: Exploring different verticals of travel and lifestyle services, indicating a broader vision for Airbnb’s role in the travel industry.
  • Experiences, Airbnb-friendly apartments, which provide long-term housing to tenants, is such an example, as well as long stays over 28 days (17% of the booked nights in Q1 2024)
  • During the 2024 Summer Release, Airbnb has launched a new category called “Icons,” featuring extraordinary experiences hosted by celebrities from industries like music, film, and sports, aimed at enhancing the brand’s perception beyond traditional accommodations. This initiative helps diversify Airbnb’s portfolio, broadening its appeal by offering a variety of unique experiences that extend beyond standard vacation rentals.

3. Building a Comprehensive Database of User Profiles to Prepare for the AI Concierge

Airbnb is strategically enhancing its data collection processes to build a robust database of personal profiles, which is pivotal for the development of its AI Concierge service. By revamping guest profiles to collect extensive personal information—from travel preferences and life interests to detailed biographical data—Airbnb aims to personalize and enhance user experiences significantly. This comprehensive data collection, especially evident in group travel where all participants are encouraged to create detailed profiles, will enable the AI Concierge to offer tailored recommendations and services, aligning closely with individual preferences and increasing the platform’s utility and revenue potential.

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