Airbnb increases focus on local travel

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Visit Florida is among the DMOss that has partnered with Airbnb.
Visit Florida is among the DMOss that has partnered with Airbnb.

Airbnb is hoping to further fuel demand for local travel with the launch of its new Go Near initiative.

The company will be updating its app and homepage to better highlight local trip ideas and will run a Go Near email and social media campaign this summer. That campaign will also highlight Airbnb’s recently launched Online Experiences

Concurrently, Airbnb has forged new marketing partnerships with over a dozen government and tourism agencies across the globe, providing access to the platform’s travel data. 

These efforts include a new nationwide marketing campaign for the U.S. National Park Foundation, which will aim to connect Airbnb guests with lesser-known parks near their destinations. Other organizations linking up with Airbnb include Discover Puerto Rico, Visit Florida and Visit North Carolina as well as government and tourism groups from Dubai, Denmark, France, Bermuda, the Bahamas and regions or cities in South Korea, China, Brazil and South Africa.

The move comes as Airbnb sees the number of bookings surge within a 200-mile radius of a user’s home, with such trips accounting for over half of the platform’s U.S. business in May. In February, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, only a third of Airbnb trips in the U.S. fell within a 200-mile boundary.

“Travel nowadays is not just domestic, it’s hyperlocal,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s senior vice president for global public policy and communications. “And most of these DMOs (destination management organizations) have really been designed and constructed to support cross-border travel. But what’s happening is a totally different kind of travel. So, they need to think about how to reach people traveling in their own backyards, and our data can be very helpful.”

Airbnb said it has seen solid year over year growth in recent weeks, with more nights booked for travel in the U.S. between May 17 and June 6 than the same period last year. For the weekend of June 5-7, the company reported year-over-year growth in gross bookings for the first time since February for Airbnb reservations worldwide.

Other bright spots include a recent spike in family travel. Between May 17 and June 6, nights booked by families with at least one child or infant in the U.S. were up over 55% year over year.

The ten U.S. destinations currently most popular among Airbnb guests are Big Bear Lake, Calif.; Miramar Beach, Fla.; Panama City Beach, Fla.; the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina; Hilton Head Island, S.C.; Destin, Fla.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Branson, Mo.; Palm Springs Desert, Calif.; and Port Aransas, Texas.

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