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Airbnb Appeals to Frequent, Tech-Savvy Travelers — But Not Necessarily Just Millennials

Airbnb came onto the scene in 2008, offering a way for vacationers to have a more local experience when they traveled by renting a room, apartment or home in their destination of choice. Since then, the company has seen profits of $2.6 billion. But who is using Airbnb? CivicScience asked more than 1,000 U.S. adults about their experience with the company.

The top-level results may at first seem bleak, with 58% of respondents having never tried the service and / or showing no interest. However, to get the full picture, it’s important to take the other categories into account. 13% have used Airbnb and liked it, while 10% are interested in trying it. That’s nearly one-fourth of the population. Given the fact that a meager 3% tried it and didn’t like it, it seems that for those who give it a try, the benefits are clear.

As one would expect, Airbnb usage is correlated with age, but only to a point. The largest demographic of those polled who have tried and enjoyed this method of home rental are 35-54 year-olds, followed by Gen Z, and then Millennials. Though the obvious generation that may come to mind when thinking about Airbnb adoption is Millennials, the results of this study confirm that’s not necessarily the case.

Staying in Shared Spaces

One of the hallmarks of Airbnb is that you can choose how much privacy you have in your lodging. From renting a shared room to an entire home, it places the choices in the customer’s hands, depending on their comfort level. The data confirm that comfort with co-living tends to correlate with usage and approval of Airbnb: renters and those still at home are the most enthusiastic.

Despite the fact that Airbnb appeals to its customers as a more affordable choice than hotels, experience and favorability with the company are highest among those making at least $50K a year. Those who are making less than that, however, do have a strong desire to give it a try.

Interestingly, it is those who make more than $100k a year who dislike it the most. There are several reasons why high-income earners may not enjoy a home rental as much as lower-income earners. Lack of luxury amenities they may be used to in pricier hotels is just one hypothesis.

Taking Airbnb Abroad

Airbnb has locations across the globe, with options in big cities and remote villages. In the U.S., there are seemingly endless choices for travelers headed to a different state, or the opposite coast. However, it is those travelers who leave the continent frequently that report the highest percentage of having used and liked the Airbnb experience.

In the second post of our Summer vacation series, the data revealed that the majority of travelers will stay in a hotel this summer. Could it be that finding a hotel overseas feels more challenging than finding one in the U.S.? Or could it be that those who are traveling abroad are looking for ways to feel more like a local? Whatever the case, Airbnb and world travelers go together, hand-in-hand.

Airbnb users are also actively using rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft. It’s a variation on a similar theme: convenience meets price meets shared spaces.

Like Airbnb, Like Mobile Banking

For those who are on the road, having access to money—whether to withdraw funds, split a dinner bill, or just keep a general eye on accounts—is an important point. The data confirm this, as Airbnb users and those interested in it are the most likely to both use and like mobile payment apps.

This same subset of respondents also does the majority of its banking on a mobile device and believes that mobile payment apps will be common in the next few years.

Airbnb and the ‘Gram

Beyond an affinity for mobile banking and payment options, those who are most active on Instagram are the most likely to have adopted Airbnb.

This particular social media platform is especially suited to picturesque homes and vacation glamor shots, which could be one reason why it’s a perfect fit for those seeking a backdrop more unique than the average chain hotel.

Ultimately, Airbnb is still a growing company. Attracting attention from those most comfortable with shared spaces, a lifestyle that takes them frequently overseas, an affinity for mobile payments and a love of Instagram, it may seem like a very specific niche. However, with strong percentages of respondents still hoping to try Airbnb for the first time, that niche has plenty of room to expand. As the company prepares to go public, we’ll continue to track consumer adoption of the brand.

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