Airbnb demand in Western Australia: Domestic visitors

To analyze the use of internet platforms to book accommodation in private homes or apartments among domestic Australian tourists visiting WA, data from the “National Visitor Surveys” (NVS) for 2015 and 2016 (first three quarters), conducted by Tourism Research Australia (TRA), was used. Each year, the NVS surveys approximately 120,000 Australian residents aged 15 years and over regarding their travel behavior. Only data for domestic visitors (intra-state and inter-state) who stayed in Western Australia overnight and away from home, were considered. For 2015, the sample consisted of 3,871 domestic overnight visitors, for the first three quarters of 2016 3,350 domestic overnight visitors were included.

The NVS also includes a question on the use of internet platforms to book accommodation in private homes or apartments, but in contrast to the IVS it does not allow to differentiate between the various platforms and thus to specifically identify Airbnb users. This means that the results for domestic travelers cannot be directly compared to findings for international visitors.

Please note that in the below figures, percentages are calculated separately within each category (column). Reported statistical significance refers to a level of 0.05.

Data source: Tourism Research Australia 2015, 2016

Share of users of private accommodation websites in age groups

Overall, bookings via private accommodation websites (such as Airbnb) tend to be relatively more appealing to younger and middle-aged domestic WA visitors. However, in contrast to what has been noticed for international visitors, users of private accommodation websites have a relatively strong presence also for more mature travelers. Increasingly in 2016, less pronounced and statistically not significant differences in the distribution of users of private accommodation websites vs. non-users of these websites among different age groups of domestic visitors can be noticed. This indicates that the impact of age on the relative probability of use of private accommodation websites by domestic overnight visitors in WA needs to be interpreted cautiously.

Share of users of private accommodation websites per trip activities

Using private accommodation websites (such as Airbnb) when visiting WA seems to be relatively more appealing in particular for domestic overnight tourists who like to visit local attraction points and participate in a range of tourism activities. More generally, for most trip activities the share of users of private accommodation website is above average in both years (2015, 2016). Most differences are statistically significant (except for “indigenous culture activities” in 2015 and 2016 and “active outdoor/sports” in 2015).

Share of users of private accommodation websites in travel party types

The analysis of domestic overnight visitors provides further evidence that using private accommodation websites (such as Airbnb) when visiting WA seems to be relatively more appealing for families, friends or relatives travelling together or for adult couples than for unaccompanied travelers. Results for 2015 and 2016 point in the same direction. For both years, differences are statistically significant.

Share of users of private accommodation websites in travel purpose categories

Data collected from domestic overnight visitors in WA confirms the finding that private accommodation websites (such as Airbnb) are first and foremost appealing to holidaymakers. Regarding the other trip purposes (i.e. VFR, conference & exhibition, business & employment, education as well as ‘other’), domestic visitors who use private accommodation websites to book their accommodations in WA are underrepresented in 2015 and 2016. Differences are statistically significant.