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Airbnb trends: top Australian Airbnb guest origins

In this article we analyse the most common countries of guest origin using Airbnb for accommodation while travelling in Australia, and compare it to the top countries for total inbound arrivals. 

This is useful for understanding how changing travel and accommodation trends affecting different traveller sectors can impact occupancy rates and the performance of short-term rental properties.

For example, just over half of Australian Airbnb accommodation (51%) is booked by domestic Australian travellers (see Figure 1 below) and these guests use short-term rental accommodation for a variety of purposes in addition to holiday travel; such as work, visiting friends and family, or as a flexible alternative to taking on a long-term lease.

A survey by Airbnb in 2018 found that more than 6 in 10 Australians would prefer to stay in an Airbnb while travelling for work.


Figure 1: Australian Airbnb guest country of origin share


Source: Airbnb Submission | Inquiry into Short-Stay Accommodation


In comparison to the international market, the largest group of inbound arrivals to Australia are from China with over 1.3 million travellers annually - see Figure 2 below. 


Figure 2: Inbound arrivals to Australia by country - year ending 30 November 2019

Source: Tourism Australia

Chinese travellers represent almost twice the number of arrivals from the United States and Canada combined, and are more than double the number of arrivals from other leading countries such as the UK, Japan and India.

However when it comes to where these guests have been choosing to stay, Chinese travellers made up only 3% of guests in MadeComfy short-term rental properties in 2019, compared to 10% for the United States and Canada combined, or 6% for the United Kingdom - see figure 3 below.


Figure 3: MadeComfy short-term rental guest country of origin share 2019

Source: MadeComfy manages short-term rental and Airbnb accommodation across inner Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. We broke down the top guest origin countries in the chart below based on country codes of customer's phone numbers attached to their Airbnb account for all bookings in 2019.


For all Australian Airbnb accommodation, Chinese guests similarly made up only 4% of guests, the same proportion as the United States and Canada combined.


Airbnb and short-term rental accommodation guests consist of diverse traveller groups, roughly split in half between domestic and international travellers, with no single international origin country dominating the share of international guest bookings. 

The reasons for guests to use short-term rental accommodation are also diverse, ranging from short stay tourism to travelling for work, which has made the industry resilient to temporary changes to any particular traveller market.

While China is the single largest and most important tourism market for Australia, the short-term rental industry still has relatively little exposure to the first wave Chinese tourism where planned tours and commercial hotels are a more popular option to using Airbnb for independent travel, however it is likely this market should see future growth as it matures.


Researching the short-term rental and Airbnb markets in Australia? Get a free copy of the Australian Short-Term Rental Report, updated for 2020 by clicking the link below:

Download Report


Featured image credit: Tourism Australia.

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