Furthering its sustainable tourism initiatives, Airbnb has released a new report tracking how traveler-spent dollars are allocated across different types of accommodations.
The findings claim Airbnb listings can benefit local economies more than chain hotels and cruise lines - the latter a particular detriment to sustainable tourism efforts.
The Healthy Travel and Healthy Destinations report finds that Airbnb hosts keep up to 97% of the posted price of their listing, with the remaining 3% fed to Airbnb as a host fee. Based on the posted price, guests also pay a service fee and cleaning fee (which the home-share site has tested eliminating in a pilot program).
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Looking at this breakdown from the traveler’s perspective, 13 cents of each accommodation dollar goes to Airbnb, while the remaining 87 cents goes directly to the host.
Airbnb argues the 87 cents pocketed by the host can help boost the local economy. For example, of those 87 cents, the survey finds 6 cents go toward reimbursing fees for cleaning services, which could come from local providers.
The study also finds that 13 cents of each traveler dollar is spent on home improvement and renovation - a statistic the company says implies that Airbnb travel can improve the physical housing stock of neighborhoods.
Hosts on average also spend 35 cents on household expenses and rent or mortgage payments, put 5 cents in savings and spend 21 cents on other goods and their own vacations.
Hotel money grab
Alternatively, if a traveler books a major hotel chain through an online travel agency, somewhere between 14 and 35 cents of each traveler dollar is paid out in franchise fees, management fees and OTA commissions.
The report claims OTAs collect from 10 to 25 cents of each traveler dollar, and the remaining 75 to 90 cents that flows to the hotel then goes toward management fees or franchise fees to the company affiliated with the brand.
Management fees take an estimated 4 to 10 cents of each traveler dollar, and franchise fees typically total 11 cents. Since many major hotel management companies are not based locally, Airbnb argues these fees totaling from 14 to 35 cents might not ever reach the local community.
The findings also complement Airbnb’s strategy to court boutique hotels to its service, where it’s promised a standard commission of from 3 to 5%.
Dollars out at sea
Cruise lines, the study finds, funnel the least portion of the traveler dollar back into the local economy.
For example, looking at Venice, where there were 1.4 million cruise passenger arrivals in 2017, for each dollar spent on a night of cruise ship accommodations: 29 cents went to shop and fuel costs, 15 cents went to booking agent commissions, 14 cents went to cruise line profits, 13 cents went to corporate operating costs and to ship crew wages, 12 cents went to food and entertainment expenses and 4 cents went to transportation costs.
Of these costs, Airbnb argues the only portions that could benefit port destination communities are fuel and local transportation costs, or crew wages if staff are based in the port location.
Otherwise, the majority of the traveler’s dollar on cruise lines does little to benefit the local community.