The Impact of Airbnb on WA’s Tourism Industry

By October 20, 2017 October 24th, 2017 Uncategorised

Curtin University, Australia’s South West and the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association today held a presentation which provided insight into the highly anticipated report “The impact of Airbnb on WA’s Tourism Industry” – a Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) funded project, undertaken by Christof Pforr and Michael Volgger from the Curtin Tourism Research Cluster.

Co-investigator Dr Michael Volgger, from Curtin’s School of Marketing, said Airbnb holidaymakers and guests differed from traditional WA visitors on some features, including the locations they were visiting from, who they travelled with and where they visited while here.

“According to our data, tourists from Singapore and Malaysia accounted for almost half of all Airbnb users in WA in 2015. Airbnb guests also have an above average tendency to visit wine regions such as Margaret River and the Swan Valley and they tend to be younger and travel more frequently as couples, families or together with friends and relatives,” Dr Volgger said.

Key findings from the report include:

Airbnb Supply in WA

  • Airbnb is an increasingly noticeable reality in WA tourism.
  • WA’s Airbnb supply consists of more than 8,000 listings (March 2017).
  • About 25 per cent of WA’s room capacity is supplied by Airbnb.
  • Airbnb supply is growing at about four per cent per month (2016).
  • Indicators suggest that WA’s Airbnb supply remains mainly in the ‘private’ (occasional) realm.
  • Monthly earnings of WA’s Airbnb hosts in total exceed AUD $4.5 million.

Airbnb Demand in WA

  • About six per cent of WA’s international overnight stays are generated by Airbnb (2016).
  • About 10 per cent of WA’s international holidaymakers are Airbnb users (2016).
  • Airbnb demand (international visitors) is growing at a rate of more than 100 per cent per year (2015-2016).
  • Airbnb guests appear to differ from other guests, as do Airbnb holidaymakers.
  • 67 per cent of all international Airbnb users in WA are holidaymakers (2015).
  • Airbnb users differ in their distribution regarding source markets: Visitors from Singapore and Malaysia account for 47 per cent of all Airbnb users in WA (2015).
  • International Airbnb users have an above average tendency to visit wine regions such as Margaret River and the Swan Valley.
  • Airbnb users often travel as couples, families or together with friends and relatives.

Stakeholder Perceptions

  • WA stakeholders hold concerns over, but also see opportunities in Airbnb.
  • Perceived benefits include additional income and competition, distribution advantages for regional areas, global reach of the platform and flexibility in supply.
  • Perceived concerns include neighbourhood amenity issues, the need for monitoring and information, safety and liability, tax avoidance and impacts on investment models.
  • Stakeholders demand more robust and accessible data and call for decisive leadership in governing the sharing economy.
View the report