Flexible searches, hosted travel and unique Stays define travel in H2 2021

World Tourism Day - India
  • Unique and more flexible stays are increasingly sought after by travelers in India
  • Hosted travel sees a boost across demographics – the rise of millennial & senior Hosts in India
  • Sustainable and restorative travel remain key for Indian travelers

This World Tourism Day, inspired by rising tourism demand and with travelers in India embracing new forms of travel, Airbnb presents a round-up of key travel trends that have been emerging in India and reflects how consumers are viewing travel in the new normal.

Indian travelers are continuing to enjoy travel to domestic destinations. This means that more people have looked at exploring newer destinations adjacent to metros, in the hills, and in off the beaten path destinations that offer local experiences. Searches for international locales are also rising as more places start to lift restrictions. 

The data also highlights how homestay Hosts have benefited from renting their spaces, with both millennials and senior Hosts looking forward to high earnings and growth. 

Airbnb highlights some of the ​key trends observed in H1 2021 that paints a picture of travel in the new normal:

More Indians are exploring flexible stays and unique accommodations when they travel:

Know your destination before you travel? Not necessary. Planning trips around unique places to stay like treehouses to castles got a whole lot easier with the global release of Flexible Destinations. This feature joins a suite of new flexible product innovations designed to completely transform the browsing and booking experience on Airbnb.

Clicking on ‘I’m Flexible’ will reveal unique listing categories – from houseboats to domes to A-frames and even private islands – with the nearest to the guest’s location at the top of the list. Guests can also see the search results displayed on a map, and simply enter the dates they want to travel or search with flexible dates (i.e. a weekend, week or month) to easily book a trip to a one-of-a-kind property.

According to Airbnb India data, travelers are uncovering new stay experiences when they travel. The Flexible Destinations feature on the Airbnb platform is also helping travelers explore and spotlight interesting places near and far. In addition, our data shows a rising interest in unique accommodations*. 

  • Globally, Airbnb has over 170,000 of these kinds of properties to choose from, a 30 percent increase over May 2019. The number of searches for unique listings as on June 2021 was 94 percent higher compared to the same period in 2019.
  • Unique listings Hosts from India have collectively earned more than INR 3.2 crore since the start of the pandemic (March 11, 2020 to April 30, 2021).
  • Our search data also revealed that among Indian travelers, Farmstays are the most wishlisted unique accommodation type, followed by cottages, earth houses and treehouses. 

Goa remains a key domestic destination:

Popular domestic destinations are still sought after for hosted travel. Goa continues to be the most searched-for destination for homestays followed by Delhi, Lonavala and Bengaluru**.

Hosted travel is key across generations and demographic groups:

Hosting is a great way to ensure that the economic benefits of travel are distributed within the communities in which our Hosts are present. Hosted travel has also seen a resurgence.

  • Over 50% of new Airbnb Hosts in India in the first half of 2021 were millennials aged between 25-40 years.
  • The top five states where these new Hosts were based are Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
  • These Airbnb Hosts collectively earned over INR 2.6 crore in H1 2021 (January 2021 – June 2021) from welcoming guests on the platform. ***

Consumer confidence in international travel continues to build: 

With the opening of travel bubbles with different countries, sentiment towards international travel, as evidenced by searches for destinations such as Canada, UK, Europe and UAE is on the rise.

The future of travel is sustainable:

There has been a rising interest amongst Indian travelers in making sustainable choices when they travel. A majority of guests have actively sought eco-friendly features in their chosen accommodations.

The Rise of Digital Nomads and a need to stay connected at all times:

As the growing flexibility to live and work from anywhere continues, being able to determine a listing’s WiFi speed before booking is a must-have for digital nomads. The WiFi speed listing feature on Airbnb is helping travelers book their perfect accommodation. 

Commenting on these trends, Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager – Airbnb India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said, “Demand for travel is picking up, and the sector is showing positive signs of being able to meet the challenge of recovery. Indian travelers are ever-eager to identify unique accommodations they may not have experienced before. Travelers are also becoming increasingly aware of sustainable travel and of making environment friendly choices when travelling. With a firm focus on cultivating responsible tourism practices, Airbnb is committed to working with our Hosts to ensure that travel is restorative for the communities in which we are based. We have always supported travel that empowers local communities and benefits them economically. Our aim is also to cultivate micro entrepreneurship and we are glad to see Hosts across demographics benefit from the recent uptick in travel.”

*Based on Airbnb internal data of unique stay searches as of April 30, 2021.

**Based on Airbnb internal data measuring searches by guests from January to June 2021.

***Based on Airbnb internal data of new Indian Hosts over the period of January to June 2021.