Airbnb will likely become the world’s fourth-largest
online-travel intermediary by the end of the year, as the peer-to-peer
accommodations service continues to boost demand from its core leisure sector
and more nascent business contingent, according to research firm Phocuswright.
Closely held Airbnb, which doesn’t disclose bookings or
revenue figures, likely generated about $7.5 billion in gross bookings in 2015,
and is likely to surpass the annual bookings of European OTA eDreams Odigeo
this year, Phocuswright said.
eDreams Odigeo’s five brands, which include Opodo, Travelink
and Go Voyages, generated 10.7 billion euros ($12 billion) in bookings for the
year ended March 31, according to eDreams Odigeo’s public filings.
After this year, Phocuswright expects that Airbnb will trail
only Expedia Inc., Priceline Group and China-based Ctrip in annual gross
bookings among online travel intermediaries.
Expedia and Priceline generated $61 billion and $56 billion,
respectively, in gross bookings last year, according to company filings.
San Francisco-based Airbnb’s growth stems from the rapid
adoption of home-based lodging. Almost one in three U.S. travelers stayed at a
home-based unit last year, up from about one in 10 in 2011, Phocuswright said.
Additionally, Airbnb’s growth disproves the claim within the
hotel industry that recent consolidation amid OTAs has given Expedia and
Priceline too much sway over accommodations pricing and distribution, wrote Doug
Quinby, Phocuswright vice president of research. Hotel industry lobbyists last
year decried Expedia’s acquisition of Orbitz Worldwide because the buyout gave
Expedia and Priceline control over about 90% of the OTA market in the U.S.
“Three guys without a lick of travel industry experience got
together and have managed to create the fourth-largest online travel
intermediary, just as OTA consolidation accelerated,” wrote Quinby. “So who
says you can’t build an online travel company today?”
Airbnb this summer filed documentation indicating that it
was raising $850 million in a funding round that would value the 9-year-old
company at about $30 billion, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month.
Airbnb has declined to comment on valuations and funding efforts. Priceline’s
market value is about $69 billion, while Expedia’s is about $17 billion.
Airbnb earlier this year also reportedly received a $1
billion credit line from a group of lenders that included Bank of America,
Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. Some analysts have said the
debt indicates that the company may be preparing to go public.