Hospitality platform Airbnb has boosted the local economy by 69 million euros, supported over 1,000 jobs and is attracting new visitors to Athens, a study released on Wednesday found.
The survey, conducted between October 2013 and September 2014 jointly by Airbnb and Athens University professor Christos Genakos, revealed that the platform complements the existing tourism industry and spreads the economic benefits across Athens to new neighborhoods and small businesses.
According to the findings, Airbnb is attracting new visitors to Athens, with 71 percent of guests visiting for the first time and 67 percent reporting that they were more likely to return. The platform has 11,500 entries for Greece, 2,500 of which are for Athens, a figure that has doubled since 2009. Airbnb hosts’ properties span 25 neighbourhoods in the Greek capital.
Besides contributing to the local economy, the community-driven hospitality platform also helps locals who share their homes stay afloat in difficult economic times. The typical Athens host shares their home with guests for about 68 nights per year, with 68 percent of hosts saying they rely on this income.
“Airbnb hosts attract new visitors to Athens, who are looking for an authentic, local travel experience,” explains Airbnb Regional Manager Jeroen Merchiers.
“This helps boost Athens’ tourism market and support the local economy while extending the economic benefits beyond the popular city spots. Meanwhile, Airbnb hosts have an extra income to sustain themselves and their families in this difficult economic period,” he adds.
Airbnb guests stay an average of 3.6 nights and spend 551 euros over the course of their trip. Some 26 percent said they would not have come or would not have stayed as long without Airbnb, while 91 percent would recommend the Airbnb property they stayed in to friends and family.
Guests opting for Airbnb are looking for genuine experiences with 75 percent saying they wanted to stay in a specific neighbourhood. In the meantime, 98 percent of hosts provide their guests with personalised recommendations on alternative neighbourhoods to visit and 70 percent provide their guests with locally produced products.
Hellenic Chamber of Hotels: Sharing economy a thorny issue for Greek tourism
At the same time, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels is apprehensive about the emerging sharing economy trend in hospitality.
“We understand the conditions created due to the economic crisis combined with the possibilities available through Internet applications and cell phones, mark the beginning of new trends with regard to supply and demand of the tourist product,” the chamber’s president, Yiorgos Tsakiris, told a forum last year.
“It’s obvious, therefore, that we cannot remain indifferent to the fact that a potentially uncontrolled increase of such practices may compromise the viability and operation of thousands of businesses.”
Founded in August of 2008, the San Francisco-based company is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover and book accommodations online or from a mobile phone in over 35,000 cities and 190 countries.