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Airbnb claims to see a 400% growth in ‘sports experience’ bookings in Malaysia

Sports experience bookings on Airbnb has grown 400% in Malaysia year-on-year, according to a survey by Airbnb Malaysia. Globally, sports experience bookings on Airbnb have also grown 380% year-over-year, and it is ranked as one of the top five categories booked by travellers. Airbnb launched its Experiences offering in November 2016 to provide curated activities guided by local insiders to its users. The offering was part of Airbnb’s expansion from accommodation hosting on the app to an end-to-end travel platform.

According to the report, Malaysians’ favourite Airbnb sports experiences come from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong. Popular sports experience activities include surf school Bali in Indonesia, dragon’s back hiking adventure in Thailand as well as more locally based activities such as stand up paddling at Lake Putrajaya and cycling around Kuala Lumpur with a local.

In a press release, Mike Orgill, Airbnb’s general manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said that sports is a universal language and sporting events have always been a pillar of global travel. “They serve as a beacon for travellers from around the globe, bringing together people from dozens of different countries for week-long festivities, adventures or one-day activities. Sporting events have been crucial to helping Airbnb work toward its mission of creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere – there are few other forces are better at bringing communities together and cutting across the barriers of language and culture,” he explained.

To date, Airbnb has earned an approximate total of US$150 million from the world’s major sporting events by accommodating fans, sportsmen, and sports management teams. In addition, 44% of Airbnb hosts surveyed globally reported on having sports-related guests, specifically travellers for major events.

Among those who book sports experiences, Generation Z and baby boomers are found to be the fastest growing demographics, with a growth of 513% and 433% respectively.

“The massive influx of tourists can place a strain on a city’s infrastructure, especially in places with limited accommodations. Over the past decade, Airbnb has helped to ease the infrastructural burden for cities that host major sporting events and enabled local residents to more directly participate in the economic benefits they can often bring,” said Orgill.

(Photo courtesy: 123rf)

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