Officials from Airbnb were in Goa for launch of its latest services. Here Amanpreet Bajaj, country manager, India, talks on Airbnb presence in Goa. He says to Serilda Coutinho that, the company has taken another step to create cross-cultural interactions with locals through the recent launch of 33 Airbnb Experiences.
- Are you satisfied with the Airbnb reach in Goa?
Goa is one of the largest markets for us in India. Our growth has been 259 percent in terms of listings and there has been a 515 percent growth in the people booking these listings. The state is the largest destination for tourism in India. I think it is growing at a micro level of 19 percent on a yearly basis. Having just started off recently we have big plans and we will continue to invest resources as well as time and effort into bring more homes onto the platform in Goa. Our plans are primarily directed towards benefitting Goans and also creating more awareness of Goa as a destination across the world.
- How does you company plan to spread reach to the interior regions that is not easily accessible for tourists?
We are very well spread out and I think that is the beauty of our platform. As I said we are not concentrated only in the tourist destination. So even if you go on to the platform right now and you request for a small neighborhood you are more likely to find a host there with 5000 plus hosts that currently operate in Goa. We are always in the lookout to tie up with local livelihood programs or groups that can help bring in more people to the platform.
- What is the budget range one can expect while searching for stays on your platform?
We have something for everyone. We have homes or rooms starting from Rs 650 to Rs 1000 per night and can even range to high as Rs 65000 per night. Depends on the kind of hospitality and place you are looking for.
- How many local apartments, cottages, as well as five star resorts are associated with Airbnb?
We have a great blend of everything so whether it is primarily homes that the hosts share with the guest to boutiques and B&B’S that are on the platform there is something for everyone . One such is the 400 year old Figueiredo mansion in Loutolim that is even older than Taj Mahal and that makes it a unique offering on this platform.
- Heritage homes call for a lot of maintenances. Do you all as a company contribute towards the expenses?
The whole concept that creates opportunities for hosts to earn income while hosting in their premises gives them the supplementary income. And a lot of our hosts use that money towards maintenance .But we are a tech platform that just connects the guest and the host together. All the hospitality that is brought to the table is by the host and that makes it unique.
- How has the experience of arranging home stays in Goa been so far?
The growth speaks for itself. The fact that more people are now getting aware of the benefits of home sharing, that more people are opening up their homes and the homes are getting booked at a much larger pace just tells you that people across India as well as the world are looking to travel in more unique and authentic ways.
- What is the future of the home stays market in Goa. Will this segment lose charm after a point?
I don’t think so. Given the way we have grown globally. It clearly shows that we are creating more options for travelers. I have spoken to many Indian millennia’s who say if you give them thousand rupees they are more likely to spend Rs 8000 on travel and on getting new experiences . This just tells you that the appetite to experience a place in multiple unique ways is going to only increase and it is very promising for us as a company to bring and open up more homes in Goa.
- What is the USP of Airbnb versus other companies with similar services?
We are the world’s largest people power hospitality and introduce homes with unique experience to guests. So I think we are very unique and we don’t like to compare against any other competition. Hospitality is a very big market per se and there is room for all kind of models to coexist.