How Airbnb Is Extending Its Stay in China
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Three days ago, home rental website Airbnb offered its customers once in a lifetime opportunity: to have a slumber party at the Great Wall of China. The ‘Night At The Great Wall’ contest gave four people and their guests an opportunity to sleep in a custom-designed "home" set at the UNESCO world heritage site. One of the goals of the contest was to highlight how everyone can play a part in preserving of world history. On 8 August, the event was cancelled because the residents expressed concerns over the commercialization of historic site.
"While there was an agreement in place that was the basis for the announcement of this event, we deeply respect the feedback we have received. We have made the decision to not move forward with this event," the company said in a statement.
It’s not the first time the company has tried to woo China. Last year, the San Francisco-based company which covers 81,000 cities in 191 countries, changed its name to "Aibiying," which means "welcome each other with love" in Chinese and also unveiled plans to triple its workforce in the country.
“There’s a whole new generation of Chinese travellers who want to see the world in a different way. We hope that Aibiying and our Trips product strikes a chord with them and inspires them to want to travel in a way that opens doors to new people, communities and neighborhoods across the world. I’m really excited about our future here,” Brian Chesky, the chief executive officer, co-founder and head of community at Airbnb, said in a blog post
What It's Like To Do Business In China
Founded in August 2008, the company has facilitated over 300 million check-ins. It wasn’t an easy one for the company.
For the company, China is one of the key markets. During his first public media briefing after becoming Airbnb's China head in October, Nathan Blecharczyk said the numbers of Chinese outbound travellers in the country are growing rapidly. China is Airbnb’s fastest growing domestic market ever as well as their second fastest growing outbound travel market ever, he added.
From July 2018, the number of Airbnb listings in China has grown more than 125 per cent one past year. The growth comes as the company has shifted its focus on quality and removed listings that do not meet their quality standards.
Redefining Travel In China
A 2017 research, “Airbnb in China: The Impact of Sharing Economy on Chinese Tourism” published in the book Advances in Human Factors, Business Management and Leadership says that Airbnb China started influencing the development of tourism market in China, since its launch.
“The whole idea of the Airbnb business and service was based on the theory of ‘sharing economy’. This theory changed the old traditional hotel industry,” says the research.
Airbnb competitors include Oyo, Tujia.com, Xiaozhu, but its growth journey has been remarkable with the number of Chinese guests travelling on Airbnb growing by 100 percent, year over year.