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Tue, 2 July 2019

Sporting Events Earn Airbnb Hosts US$150 Million

With the price of hotel accommodation increasing by what seems like astronomic proportions during major sporting events, it will come as little surprise that Airbnb hosts have been quick to tap into this lucrative market.

To date, Airbnb hosts have earned an estimated US$150 million from some of the world’s biggest sporting events, and 44% of Airbnb hosts recently surveyed by the company say they have hosted guests traveling for a sporting event.

In Thailand, sports tourism is finally earning the attention it deserves with the country hosting an ever-increasing number of large-scale domestic and international events from running and triathlons, to sailing and motor sports.

Team Hollywood competing in the Top of the Gulf Regatta 2019 in Jomtien, Pattaya, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Buriram, in Thailand’s northeast, is rapidly growing into the country’s sports hub and has hosted landmark events including the country’s first ever MotoGP in 2018.

With limited accommodation supply in the city, Airbnb partnered with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and homestay provider B-STAY to grow supply. Ahead of the 2019 Buriram Marathon, the number of listings in Buriram on Airbnb spiked more than 3.5 times locals recognised the benefits of opening their homes to local and domestic visitors. This followed last year’s 2018 Thailand MotoGP where 220 guests from 60 global cities stayed with local hosts on Airbnb. Hosts earned a combined income of THB400,000 over the four days, underscoring the ability of Airbnb to provide flexible accommodation for events.

The top 5 sports destinations in Thailand, measured by the percentage share of Airbnb listings in a destination that mention sports in the description as of 1 May 2019, are:

1. Pattaya
2. Phuket
3. Samui
4. Bangkok
5. Hua Hin

“Thailand has a strong sporting heritage and is host to many large-scale sporting events that attract domestic and international participants and fans,” said Mike Orgill, General Manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Airbnb. “Airbnb is playing an important role in helping to scale up accommodation supply and create revenue opportunities for local communities that are the hosts of these events. Buriram is one destination we have worked with closely and we also see spikes in bookings during sports events held in Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, Bangkok and beyond.”

Ireland in action against Hong Kong at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2019. The HK7s are the perfect example of the power of sport tourism as not only has it been Asia's most successful annual sporting event for decades, it has had a massive impact on the growth of rugby sevens around the world and encouraged more people in the region, and elsewhere, to play sport and live a healthier lifestyle. It is also a massive corporate networking event. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Every week, Airbnb hosts are welcoming fans into their homes as they attend sporting events large and small. A review of Airbnb booking data shows that this pattern has played out at major sporting events around the world throughout Airbnb’s history:

Airbnb hosts in Gangwon, Korea earned a total of THB72 million (USD2.3 million) by sharing their homes during the Winter Olympics 2018. Over 15,000 travelers stayed in an Airbnb during the three weeks - accounting for a 500% increase from the same period in 2017, and 71% of all international guests who visited Gangwon throughout the entire year of 2017.

The upcoming Rugby World Cup will see Airbnb’s burgeoning host community in Japan welcome an estimated 300,000 guest arrivals, and earn more than THB135 million (US$43 million) over the period of 22 September - 2 Nov 2019.

“Global sporting events help to illustrate the potential and benefit of the Airbnb platform like few other things can. For cities around the world, hosting a major sporting event can be both a burden and a benefit. They can create a tremendous economic windfall, but there are often questions around how much of that windfall actually makes its way into the pockets of local citizens. And the massive influx of tourists can place a strain on a city’s infrastructure, especially in places with limited accommodations,” Orgill added. “Over the past decade, Airbnb has helped to ease the infrastructural burden for cities that host major sporting events, and enabled local residents to more directly participate in the economic benefits they can often bring.”

Sports experience bookings in Thailand grew 612% year-on-year, while the number of sports experiences available grew by 323% over the same period.

Sports experiences now rank as one of the top five experience categories booked by travelers around the world. Unique sports are on the rise ranging from Warrior Indoor Obstacle Training Experience in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to a Flying Trapeze Experience in Toronto, Canada and paragliding with a pilot in Yangpyeong, South Korea.

Surf experiences are some of the most popular globally with the #1 most booked sports experience being in Bali, Indonesia - MySurfSchool Bali - Private Group. Cycling experiences are also growing in popularity with Cycle and Snack through hidden Bangkok being one of Thailand’s most popular sports experiences.

Sailors having fun at Top of the Gulf Regatta 2019 in Jomtien, Pattaya, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Across all age groups of guests booking sports experiences, Generation Z (aged 18-24) and seniors (aged 60-90) are Airbnb’s fastest growing demographics with an incredible 513% and 433% in growth year-on-year.

Across Asia Pacific:

• Korea ranks #1 globally as the largest guest market for sports experiences, with an impressive 741% growth year-on-year in adventurous outbound guests trying new sports experiences around the world.

• Indonesia and Japan are two of Airbnb’s top 10 sports experience markets globally, with 8,800 and 4,600 sports experience bookings in the past year alone.

• Vietnam is trending as one of the fastest-growing countries in sports experience bookings growth, with bookings multiplying more than 20x year-over-year.

“Sports are a universal language, and sporting events have always been a pillar of global travel. They serve as a beacon for travelers from around the globe, bringing together people from dozens of different countries for weeklong festivities, adventures or one-day activities. Sporting events have been crucial to helping Airbnb work toward its mission of creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere - there are few other forces are better at bringing communities together and cutting across the barriers of language and culture,” said Orgill.

See also: Transforming Pattana into a Leading Sports Training Hub - Interview with EVP, Pictures from Top of the Gulf Regatta 2019 in Pattaya, Thailand and Pictures from Cathay Pacific / HSBC World Rugby Hong Kong Sevens 2019.

See latest HD Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: Airbnb, Sport Tourism.

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