Airbnb revealed plans of expanding its services to second and third-tier cities in China in an effort to reach more customers. The US-based homestay platform is targeting the country's growing number of millennial tourists who are visiting other cities and are looking for affordable and high-quality accommodations.
Airbnb China president, Peng Tao, mentioned in a statement that the company will be accelerating its expansion efforts through various localization strategies to increase its average monthly active users. Peng explained that China remains to be one of its biggest markets and the company is extremely positive about its future performance in the country.
The company's growth in China has steadily been increasing, but Airbnb is targeting an even higher rate of growth in the coming year. From January to October, Airbnb China has been the top online vacation rental services platform, beating domestic and international players in terms of the number of active users.
To achieve its goals, Airbnb plans to include tailor-made homes and residences that fit the usage patterns and taste of Chinese consumers. This will include the further enhancement of the company's Airbnb Plus service, which was launched in China last year. The high-end section will include high-end and high-quality homes where hosts have the highest reviews and positive feedback.
According to Peng, Airbnb Plus in China saw a nine-fold increase in new hosts since it was launched last year. The service now features rooms and homes spread across 24 different Chinese cities. Apart from generating income for hosts across the country, Peng stated that the a growing number of hosts and tourists should provide a big boost to employment and the country's overall economic growth.
Airbnb is also banking on its recently closed nine-year partnership with the International Olympic Committee to boost its presence and growth in China. The partnership is particularly of big importance given the upcoming 2020 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The international event is expected to open new business opportunities for Chinese homeowners given the influx of tourists and visitors.
The company is also expecting a surge of users during this holiday season, which will likely see millions of Chinese citizens visiting second and third-tier cities to either go back home or to visit. Cities such as Xi'an, Chengdu, and Chongqing are apparently becoming popular holiday destinations, especially for younger Chinese tourists who want to explore more of what their country has to offer.
Airbnb estimates that China has close to 50 million vacant homes and properties. The company wants to attract those homeowners to become hosts on the platform to earn extra income. Presently, the company's rural listings include more than 1,400 country-level administrative regions, with selections, included cheap one-bedroom units to fully-equipped houses in high-end areas.