Airbnb unveils a new engagement programme and announces its work with local authorities, charitable partners and tourist bodies from around the world

Airbnb has announced a pair of initiatives to support local travel and economic growth: a series of partnerships with destinations around the world, and Go Near, a new initiative to support local economies through local travel. The initiatives come as the travel industry takes initial steps to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whilst the travel industry, including Airbnb, has been hit hard by COVID-19 and there will continue to be tremendous uncertainty, the company’s booking data shows that travel is beginning to bounce back and new survey research has identified a series of trends that will shape travel in the weeks and months to come. The following details the steps Airbnb are taking to work with local communities and best serve hosts and guests around the world based on the trends the company is seeing.

This work includes a series of partnerships with destination marketing organisations to help these organisations use the Airbnb platform to support local economic development. The effort to make the company’s platform available as a tool for communities is informed by historic data on how Airbnb has supported economic empowerment.

For example, in 2019, Airbnb’s host and guest community-generated US$117b/£92.5b in estimated direct economic impact across 30 countries alone, a 16 per cent increase over the US$100b/£79.1b the community-generated in 30 markets in 2018.

Airbnb is working with governments and tourism agencies to help support responsible and safe travel that benefits local citizens and small businesses.

The company is unveiling a new engagement programme and announcing its work with local authorities, charitable partners and tourist bodies from around the world, including with the National Park Foundation (USA) – the official nonprofit of the National Park Service – on a national marketing campaign to engage Airbnb guests with lesser-visited parks, trails and rivers near their destinations.

Through other partnerships, Airbnb will share travel data and insights as well as allow these organisations to leverage their platform and channels, reaching hundreds of millions of people globally.

In a survey commissioned by Airbnb, nearly half of US respondents said they will prefer to stay within a day’s drive for their first trip once lockdown restrictions lift. Since the pandemic began, the percentage of bookings made on Airbnb within 200 miles, round trip travellers can generally complete on one tank of gas, has grown from one-third of all bookings in February to over half in May.

Tapping into the demand for nearby trips, Airbnb is updating its app and homepage to help guests rediscover the magic in their own backyards by making it easier to book local travel, including at the last minute. This includes featuring local trip ideas and highlighting nearby getaways. Airbnb will also launch a summer email and social media campaign under the banner Go Near to promote both nearby getaways and Airbnb’s recently launched Online Experiences.

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