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Airbnb: the changing face of accommodation booking

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015 – December 2015 (n=7,620).

The 21st century has been a time of dramatic transformation for the tourism industry, with ever-changing digital technology one of the key factors behind its evolution. And while online accommodation booking sites have been well and truly mainstream for many years, the meteoric rise of online accommodation marketplace Airbnb is changing the playing field yet again. So how does Airbnb stack up in an Australian context? Read on…

In the six months to December 2015, 27.1% of Australians 14+ (or 5.3 million people) reported having heard of Airbnb. While this is a substantially lower recognition rate than more established tourism industry players such as Flight Centre (70.0%) and (52.2%), it puts Airbnb ahead of well-known operators like STA Travel (26.9%), (25.8%) and Stayz (23.0%).

Recognition rates for Airbnb are elevated among the 25-34 and 35-49 year-old age brackets (36.6% and 33.0% respectively), and lowest among the 65-plus demographic (14.4%).

% of Australians who have heard of/would consider using Airbnb, by age


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015 – December 2015 (n=7,620).

Meanwhile, 7.7% of Australians say they would consider using Airbnb for their next holiday, making it the fifth-most considered travel agent/booking site after Flight Centre,, Wotif, and 

Again, Aussies aged 25-34 exceed the population average, with 13.1% of them saying they’d consider using Airbnb for their next trip.

The proof is in the use

Between July and December last year, just over 13.6 million Australians reported taking at least one holiday in the previous 12 months. When asked which travel agents or booking sites they used at least once in that time, 4.4% (607,000) named Airbnb. This is just a fraction behind the proportion that used Expedia (4.7%), and sixth overall.

Top 10 travel agents/ booking websites used at least once for holiday, last 12 months

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015 – December 2015 (n=5,122).

And the age group most likely to have used Airbnb? That’s right – the 25-34 bracket, 6.7% of whom used it.

Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“With the launch of Airbnb in August 2008, the ‘sharing economy’ entered the travel accommodation market. In contrast to established booking websites, Airbnb is an online marketplace offering lodging in private residences which are rented out by their owners. This can often be cheaper and more flexible than booking a hotel or some other kind of formally managed holiday property.

“From the start, Australians were among the most enthusiastic adopters of Airbnb, with the company even opening a Sydney office in late 2012. And now, the latest results from Roy Morgan research show that Airbnb has higher recognition, consideration and usage rates among the population than some of its much longer-standing rivals.

“Aussies aged between 25 and 34 seem to have taken to Airbnb with particular enthusiasm. Having grown up with digital technology and its myriad possibilities for collaborative consumption, this group is a natural fit for this style of accommodation booking.

“Furthermore, our latest findings indicate that more than double the proportion of Aussies whose last trip was overseas used Airbnb than those whose last holiday was domestic (8.0% vs 3.7%). Could this be cause for concern from bricks-and-mortar travel agents, for whom so much of their business comes from people planning an overseas holiday? Without doubt, this is a critical time for bricks-and-mortar businesses to ensure their marketing strategies are as effective and as future-proof as possible…”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%