The U.S. home-sharing service Airbnb announced a series of plans to better serve Chinese travelers, particularly millennials, who are seeking an alternative way to travel. Airbnb Co-Founder, CEO, and Head of Community Brian Chesky unveiled Airbnb’s new Chinese brand name and announced the expansion of Trips and Experiences in China.
Airbnb’s new brand name in China, “Aibiying” (爱彼迎）, translates as ‘welcome each other with love’ and reflects Airbnb’s mission of belonging and bringing people together from communities and neighborhoods all around the world to reimagine how we travel. The new brand is being rolled out across the product today and will be supported by a major marketing campaign in the coming months.
Airbnb is also bringing its latest innovation, Trips, to China with the launch of Airbnb Experiences in Shanghai. Trips is Airbnb’s strategy to move beyond accommodation to offer unique and magical experiences across all areas of the trip. Trips brings together where you stay, what you do and the people you meet all into one beautifully designed product, and all powered by local people. You can learn how violins are made in Paris or hunt for truffles in the countryside around Florence, Italy.
Trips launches today in Shanghai with authentic and unique Experiences offered by locals – from learning about dough figurines (also known as Miansu), a 4,000 year old Chinese folk art that is rarely practiced today, to going behind-the-scenes of traditional Kun Opera. Trips provides an alternative to standard tourist experiences, giving access to local culture, places and people that visitors wouldn’t otherwise see or meet. It also provides a platform for local people to share their passions and interests in local cultures and community activities.
To better serve Chinese travelers, Airbnb will more than triple the size of its local workforce this year and double its investment in the market. China has the only Airbnb engineering center outside of the United States and Airbnb expects to further boost the number of engineers in China in the next year.
Airbnb has already made progress in tailoring its service to meet the needs of local users in China, from improved website translation to integration of local payment methods such as Alipay and sign up options such as WeChat, to providing 24×7 access to customer support in Mandarin.
To date, there have been more than 5.3 million guest arrivals by Chinese travelers at Airbnb listings all over the world. Outbound travel from China grew 142% in 2016 alone. While Airbnb has not taken steps to encourage people in China to share their space, organic growth has been powerful — domestically, Airbnb has approximately 80,000 listings and has seen nearly 1.6 million guest arrivals at listings within China.
Airbnb’s popularity in China is particularly being enhanced by millennials attaching more importance to travel and looking for a different kind of travel experience to other generations. In research conducted by Gfk last year, 93 percent of Chinese millennial respondents said that travel was an important part of their self identity and 94 percent want unique travel experiences*. More than 80 percent of Airbnb’s users in China are aged under 35, more than in any other country.