Airbnb demand in Western Australia: International visitors

The purpose of this analysis on Airbnb demand was to explore the characteristics of Airbnb users in Western Australia (WA) compared to Airbnb non-users among the WA visitors, and to understand whether and how they differ from each other. Therefore, the prime focus of the analysis was set on identifying over- and under-presence of Airbnb users within specific visitor categories.

The “International Visitor Survey” (IVS) and the “National Visitors Survey” (NVS) by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) provided the data basis for the analysis of Airbnb demand and for identifying differentiators between Airbnb users and Airbnb non-users.

Data source: Tourism Research Australia 2015, 2016

Please note that results are not necessarily directly comparable with the regular analyses produced by Tourism Research Australia, as methods slightly differ. This is however insignificant, as this report focuses on the comparison between Airbnb users and Airbnb non-users and does not attempt to extrapolate to overall numbers.

Share of Airbnb users in age groups

Airbnb visitors have a relatively stronger presence among younger to middle-aged WA visitors. While in 2015 the relative share of Airbnb users compared to Airbnb non-users was relatively strong and consistently above average for the age groups 25 to 39 years, in 2016 the age groups with above-average share of Airbnb usage expanded to comprise visitors aged 20 to 49 years. Similar results are obtained from a specific focus on holidaymakers: Younger categories of WA visitors have a relatively higher share of Airbnb users than older categories. When considering holidaymakers only, the highest relative shares are found in the age groups between 30 and 49 years (in 2016). However, it is important to note that statistical significance of differences could not be established if holidaymakers only were considered.

Share of Airbnb users per countries of origin

Using Airbnb when visiting WA seems to be more appealing for visitors from some source countries than others. Airbnb visitors have a relatively stronger presence among visitors from certain Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Korea (for Korea only in 2015) and selected European sources markets such as France or Scandinavian countries (for 2015, and partly for 2016). In contrast, Airbnb users exhibit a relatively contained presence in some of the most traditional source countries for WA, such as New Zealand and UK. A share of Airbnb users on or below average can also be noticed for countries that have repeatedly been seen as potential future growth markets such as India and partly Indonesia, China as well as Taiwan. Differences are statistically significant.

For many countries, there is a marked dynamic regarding the change in share of Airbnb users relative to non-users between the years 2015 and 2016 (e.g. Indonesia, Canada, USA, China).

Share of Airbnb users per number of previous visits

Overall, using Airbnb when visiting WA seems to be relatively more appealing to visitors that have limited prior experience in travelling to Australia (up to three times). Among those visiting for the first time the relative share of Airbnb users amounts to 3.68% (2015; average: 2.7%) and 6.09% (2016; average: 5.6%). Somewhat in contrast, when focusing solely on holidaymakers, results indicate also a relatively strong presence of Airbnb users among experienced and very experienced WA visitors. The group of holidaymakers who have previously visited Australia for three times, have the highest relative share of Airbnb users. However, differences are not statistically significant if holidaymakers alone are considered.

Share of Airbnb users in travel party types

Using Airbnb when visiting WA seems to be relatively more appealing for adult couples, friends or relatives travelling together and for families than for unaccompanied travelers. In other words: Airbnb is preferred by groups of travelers rather than by visitors travelling alone. Results for the year 2016 largely confirm the observations from 2015 with couples, families and friends or relatives having significantly higher relative shares of Airbnb users, and, in particular, unaccompanied travelers choosing the Airbnb option less frequently than the average travel party. For both years the distributions in both groups (Airbnb, Non-Airbnb) regarding travel party type differ significantly.

Share of Airbnb users per WA places and attractions visited

Using Airbnb when visiting WA appears to be relatively more appealing for tourists who visit regions near Perth, such as Margaret River, the Swan Valley, the Pinnacles/Cervantes or Fremantle during their trip. Beyond that, it is remarkable that Airbnb users demonstrate a general tendency to visit more places in WA than Airbnb non-users. This observation holds also for holidaymakers only, except for the most distant places from Perth that have been considered such as the Bungle Bungles/Purnululu National Park or Ningaloo Marine Park. Margaret River consistently exhibits the highest share of Airbnb users among all WA places included in the analysis. Another wine region, the Swan Valley, records similarly high shares of Airbnb users, if only holidaymakers are considered.

Share of Airbnb users per trip activities

All in all, using Airbnb when visiting WA seems to be relatively more appealing for visitors who like to visit local attraction points and participate in a range of tourism activities. The relative share of Airbnb users among those who participate in such activities in WA is above average for both years 2015 and 2016; similar results can be obtained when holidaymakers only are considered. In contrast, there is a tendency for Airbnb users to be underrepresented among those WA visitors who engage in indigenous culture activities and who participate in sports and sportive outdoor activities during their visit. This is in particular evident if holidaymakers only are considered.

Share of Airbnb users in travel purpose categories

The collated data demonstrates that Airbnb is first and foremost appealing to holidaymakers. Airbnb users have a relatively stronger presence among those who indicate holiday as the purpose of their trip to WA. Moreover, holidaymakers accounted for 67.3% (2015) and 68.3% (2016) of all international Airbnb users to Western Australia. In most other trip purpose categories, Airbnb users are underrepresented, which is especially evident for visiting friends and relatives (VFR) as well as for business and exhibition travel in 2015; and for VFR, business and employment in 2016. While Airbnb users in the category “convention/conference” were close to average in 2015, they almost reached a similarly high share as holidaymakers in 2016. Differences are statistically significant.