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Friday, June 21, 2024

Airbnb drives growth and rejuvenation of local homestays

Latest Airbnb data reveals that the end-to-end hospitality company is driving growth and rejuvenation of local homestays throughout Thailand, through its unique partnerships with the Ministry of Interior’s Department of Local Administration (DLA) and with the Government Savings Bank (GSB).

Launched in 2018, the Airbnb-DLA ‘Empowering Local Tourism Entrepreneurs’ partnership saw both parties collaborate to train and onboard existing homestay operators onto Airbnb’s global platform. This was followed by Airbnb’s partnership with GSB this May to further build homestay capacity through hospitality and host training, and provide flexible-interest rate loans and installment plans for owners to upgrade their homestays.

  • Since 2018, over 740 local homestays have been listed on Airbnb through both partnerships. The global hospitality platform connects Thai hospitality entrepreneurs to its marketplace network, and links homestay owners with over 500 million guests worldwide. Homestays from more than 60 provinces around Thailand are now available on the Airbnb platform.
  • The top cities where these homestays are located are Buriram, Saraburi, Ubon Ratchathani, Roi Et and Rayong. In line with the Thai Government’s aim to drive economic growth in emerging destinations, the continued growth of homestays in these cities will help empower hospitality entrepreneurs nationwide, and diversify income distribution beyond traditionally touristed areas.
  • Of all homestays that the DLA currently oversees, over 25% were listed through Airbnb alone. In the process, Airbnb had trained local provincial officials on hospitality, hosting and compliance standards, and equipped them with the digital literacy skills to help locals create and manage their own listings on the platform.
  • In partnership with GSB, Airbnb aims to onboard more local homestays in four key cities across Thailand. These cities are Bangkok in Central Thailand, Buriram in the Northeast, Chiang Mai in the North, and Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South.

Mich Goh, Airbnb Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia shared, “Our partnerships with DLA and GSB reaffirm the positive benefits that Airbnb is bringing to local tourism in Thailand, including emerging destinations that have not traditionally benefited from tourism. We are committed to continue working with our valued partners to help the Thai government empower Thai hospitality entrepreneurs and build quality hospitality supply.”

Suttipong Juljarern, Director-General, Department of Local Administration, Ministry of Interior, said, “The Department (DLA) is delighted that our joint efforts have helped connect hundreds of local homestays with overseas guests, and created additional income for hospitality entrepreneurs in local communities across Thailand. We will continue to build a comprehensive tourism ecosystem that upskills and uplifts local Thais, strengthens communities, and improves livelihoods and living standards nationwide.”

Dr. Chatchai Payuhanaveechai, GSB President and CEO, shared, “The Government Savings Bank (GSB) and Airbnb have jointly fostered a new system of public-private collaboration, where each party leverages its unique expertise to build a sustainable framework for the revitalization of local homestays across Thailand. GSB provides funding and training to help empower the long-term growth of our local hospitality entrepreneurs, and their surrounding neighborhoods and communities in turn. We look forward to our continued collaboration to equip local homestay owners so that they can provide the best hospitality experience with the world.”

Watthanon Hapermpool’s Story: Rejuvenating his homestay and community with Airbnb and GSB
Watthanon (Yoong) Hapermpool, an Airbnb homestay host from Bangkok, is a recipient of Airbnb’s hospitality training and GSB’s flexible loan scheme. A Thai designer by trade who specialises in interior and exterior design, he started hosting on Airbnb in 2017 by renovating his grandmother’s old home into a one-bedroom studio.

Khun Yoong’s listing is located in the suburbs of Bangkok — a short 15-minute drive away from Suvarnabhumi Airport. His neighbors and friends were initially worried that not many travelers would choose to stay in his listing as it was far from the city centre.

Through the loan offered by GSB, Khun Yoong was able to expand his homestay business by converting his own metalwork studio into a cafe for guests to unwind. Inspired by how other Airbnb hosts had engaged and partnered with other local entrepreneurs in their communities, he actively reached out to his community leaders in Khet Lat Krabang for support. Besides starting a recycling bank to reduce waste, he also kickstarted a reforestation project where he now organizes regular tree-planting activities along the canal to make his community more eco-friendly.

The growth of his hospitality business through the Airbnb-GSB programme provided Khun Yoong with a new profitable source of income, and the opportunity to forge new connections with his guests. In his own words, he wants to “better connect his guests to his local community so they can best experience the authentic Thai way of life”.

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