Airbnb reveals its trending locations of the year, and there’s not a city in sight.
Regional Australia reigns supreme in the stakes for Airbnb’s most in-demand locations for bookings, new data from the platform reveals. As the end of 2018 approaches, Airbnb Australia has released its top 10 trending destinations in Australia, comparing bookings made in 2018 to the year before.
According to Airbnb country manager Sam McDonagh, the demand for accommodation in regional areas has increased dramatically in the past few years, with users turning away from big cities and towards smaller, more isolated Australian towns.
“The list is based our internal data, on bookings that were made so far in 2018, compared to bookings made in the same period of 2017,” he says.
“Looking at the data, what we are really seeing is that more than half the bookings made in Australia this year were made in regional areas. It’s a growing trend, and it shows people are looking to stay outside city areas now.”
Topping the list is Wagga Wagga, which saw a 289 per cent year-on-year increase in bookings.
While the list was dominated by towns not known for their traditional tourist pulling-power, McDonagh says the company wasn’t surprised by the data, arguing that many are beginning to consider travelling to regional towns due to the vast amount of accommodation options now available.
“Looking at Wagga Wagga in isolation, they’ve got Charles Sturt University down there, there’s a big hospital, there’s the Botanic Gardens and there’s the art gallery. For people who have always been interested in Wagga Wagga, but have never actually considered traveling there before, they can now, because there are simply more accommodation options.”
McDonagh says while the data may be surprising at first glance, it makes sense considering the origins of Airbnb.
“It’s important to remember the genesis of Airbnb, and that is the fact it was founded around big events. Consider the drought-stricken times we have had in NSW, as local communities host events and attract people, these events naturally attract guests, too.”
Moreover, he cites a trend for some guests to seek out an Airbnb based purely on aesthetics rather than location.
“[Users] certainly are, in some cases, looking for properties first and wish-listing them and then going on to travel to destinations they wouldn’t otherwise have stayed. They want to go there to stay in a certain Airbnb, and in some cases, the location is almost secondary,” he said.
As for general trends, McDonagh says they are continuing to see a rise in female hosting, estimating 66 per cent of Australian Airbnb hosts are female. And he believes people are more thoughtful in their reasons for travelling than ever.
“One of the big global travel trends we are seeing is that people want to live like locals. They’re travelling for the experiences they want to have, and they’re actually finding more meaningful reasons as to why they want to travel now, rather than just looking for a holiday,” he says.
Airbnb’s top 10 trending destinations in Australia for 2019:
Wagga Wagga (289 per cent increase in bookings year-on-year)
Blackheath (281 per cent)
Toowoomba (229 per cent)
Tamborine Mountain (205 per cent)
Mount Gambier (202 per cent)
Corowa (175 per cent)
Bridport (173 per cent)
Jindabyne (166 per cent)
Strahan (163 per cent)
Mudgee (158 per cent)