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Airbnb to Suspend China Listings, Shift Focus to Outbound Travel

Garrett_Li

Garrett_...

· 5月25日

Airbnb will shift its focus to outbound tourism from China and serving outbound tourists.

Image Source: Visual China

Image Source: Visual China

BEIJING, May 24 (TMTPOST) — Airbnb, the world’s biggest homestay booking platform, announced on Tuesday that it will suspend booking services in China.

Starting from July 30, 2022, users of Airbnb will no longer have access to homestay booking in China.

Airbnb will shift its focus to outbound tourism in China and serving outbound tourists.

Airbnb China stated that the constant recurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the tourism industry in China and weakened the synergy effect of domestic tourism and outbound tourism in China. The domestic tourism business has been facing challenges such as high operation costs, the company noted.

Airbnb China noted that the new adjustment will affect its homesharing hosts in China and pledged to provide information and service support for its hosts through multiple channels. Airbnb China will also waive the order cancellation fees for hosts.

After the adjustment, users in China can only book overseas homestays on Airbnb.

The company’s 2022 Q1 earnings report shows that Airbnb achieved revenues of US$1.5 billion in Q1, registering year-on-year growth of 70%. The company suffered from a net loss of US$19 million. 

Third-party data platform AirDNA’s information shows that as of April 2022 Airbnb had around 500,000 homestay sources in mainland China. The platform has over six million homestay sources globally.

Airbnb believes that the Asia Pacific region will become one of the most important markets across the globe in the upcoming five years even though the region’s tourism industry has not yet recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic. China will be a strong market in the Asia Pacific, Airbnb said.

Airbnb has in some way left the mainland China market, which means domestic players will seize the opportunity to take over the market share held by Airbnb. 

“Mainland China has a massive consumer market and a big inventory of homestay resources. China will continue to be an important market for companies like Airbnb,” Yang Yanfeng, director of the Online Tourism Research Center at Beijing Union University said. “I believe Airbnb will make its return after the pandemic ends in the future. But before that time comes, the power vacuum in the market will provide opportunities for companies like Ctrip, Tongcheng Travel, Meituan, Tujia and Xiaozhu.”

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