US-based home rental startup Airbnb Inc. has launched ‘Plus Homes’ in India, featuring the highest-rating homes, the company said in a statement.
“There’s a rising tide here in India,” said Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Airbnb. “Travel to emerging economies is expected to increase at twice the rate of travel to advanced economies from now until 2030, which is a truly promising opportunity for Airbnb in India.”
Airbnb’s Plus Homes services is available across 41 cities globally. The company says every Plus home is visited in person and verified against an inspection checklist of more than 100 points to ensure comfort and quality. Airbnb gives hosts of the Plus Homes greater visibility on its platform, helping them earn more than those of other listings.
The company said that more than one million Indians travelled with Airbnb globally in 2018 and that there has been a 115% increase in Indian listings over the past year.
“Increasingly, more Indians want to travel on a frequent basis which is a millennial trend, and with 410 million millennials—more than the entire population of the US—making up the dominant segment of consumers; our focus is on making sure there is an Airbnb for everyone,” said Amanpreet Bajaj, country manager-India, Airbnb.
The company has operations in all major cities of India, which it says is a priority market.
Airbnb, whose website rental listings range from private rooms to manors and islands, has expanded rapidly since it was founded in 2008 by a trio of graduates Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk from the Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard.
The company operates in 191 countries. It is valued around $31 billion and has raised a total of $4.4 billion in funding, according to Crunchbase.
In India, Airbnb faces stiff competition from homegrown rival Oyo, which initially aggregated hotel rooms under its brand. Later, Oyo consolidated its operations under the franchise model, where it controls the inventory and decides pricing along with its exclusive hotel partners. Airbnb focuses on homestay accommodations.