Airbnb has committed to playing its part in promoting regional tourism and expanding the opportunity to increase financial gains.
Recently, Airbnb hosted Hugh Riley, CEO and Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), at its San Francisco headquarters and announced new commitments to promoting authentic and sustainable travel in the region, as well as continuing to grow economic opportunity.
In 2017 over 1.6 million guests booked accommodation in the Caribbean through the Airbnb platform, an increase of 117 per cent compared to 2016. Through collaboration with local stakeholders, Airbnb has demonstrated its commitment to supporting healthy tourism and has signed collaboration or voluntary tax collection agreements with 14 countries in the region.
During Mr. Riley’s visit to the west coast headquarters, the CTO and Airbnb signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) pledging to cooperate on areas of mutual interest including: the promotion of Caribbean countries as desirable tourism destinations; taking part in joint research to understand the impact of home-sharing on economic recovery following the 2017 hurricane season.
“We are proud that the Caribbean is in such high demand among diverse and very discerning global travellers. Essentially, Airbnb is helping to make our region more competitive and to spread the benefits of the tourism industry across traditional and non-traditional segments of our communities,” said Riley.
“Airbnb is deeply committed to the Caribbean and we are proud to take this next step with the CTO to advance our mission of local, authentic, and sustainable travel in the region. The platform helps diversify the tourism sector, attract new travellers, and empowers over 50,000 hosts across the region”, said Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs for Airbnb.
Participating hosts set their desired listing price on the platform and pay a three per cent commission to Airbnb for its services, allowing them to pocket 97 per cent of the nightly rate. In the Caribbean, a typical host earned $3,700 USD in the last 12 months.
Through various marketing partnerships in the region, the platform has collaborated with regional tourism boards and enabled destinations to reach Airbnb’s vast global community through the company’s robust media platforms. This broader partnership with the CTO includes exploring collaborative ways to market the region and establishing partnerships to facilitate destination marketing, host recruitment, improving guest experiences and the expansion of disaster relief efforts.
The joint research undertaking with the CTO builds on Airbnb’s commitment to help strengthen communities around the world in tough times. The hyperactive 2017 hurricane season saw Harvey, Irma, and Maria severely impacting the region, resulting in billions of dollars of damage. Airbnb saw a downturn in regional bookings in September 2017, but is excited to note an uptake in bookings for the upcoming high season and is working steadfastly to spread the word that the Caribbean in open for business. In Puerto Rico alone Airbnb has more listings than pre-Hurricane Maria.
The research will consider the ways in which home-sharing can help affected communities restore economic activity in the tourism industry. Additionally, Airbnb is committed to expanding the Open Homes program in the Caribbean. This program provides free temporary housing to relief workers and people displaced by natural disasters.
Earlier this year, Airbnb and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) also agreed to launch a destination marketing campaign to highlight the island, in addition to cementing a lodging tax collection agreement. (PR)