Tourism is changing more in recent years than in recent decades. And with tourism change the technological solutions that accompany the entire process: inspiration, organization, travel. Airbnb knows it well: the platform that has revolutionized the way we visit the world, finding hospitality in other people’s homes, has responded to the challenges of the last three years quickly and intelligently: “We have witnessed important changes in the way people travel , as a particular attention and curiosity towards less inflated destinations. We have in fact recorded a growth in tourism towards small towns and rural areas compared to large cities – he says Giacomo Foundcountry manager for Italy and South-Eastern Europe of Airbnb, exclusively a Italian Tech – our data shows that the ten most visited European cities on Airbnb, including Paris, Barcelona and Rome, accounted for 14% of all trips in Europe in 2022 compared to 20% in 2019. rural stays have become increasingly popular: if you compare the first three quarters of 2019 with those of 2022, the increase is 55%”.
The tools for flexible tourism
Airbnb has introduced new versatile search tools over the months, such as Categories launched last May and the option “I am flexible”, designed precisely to exploit technology in order to “disperse” tourists, partially counteracting mass flows and seasonally adjusting leisure or work trips. An approach, together with that of long stays at the limits of digital nomadismwhich Airbnb seems to want to encourage together with increasingly complete assistance for those who make their accommodation available.
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With the latest update, presented in recent days, new tools arrive: Airbnb Start, designed to make listing on Airbnb even easier; L’AirCover insurance enhanced for hosts with booking control technology solutions and damage coverage up to three million dollars and six new Categories: New, Top of the World, Trending, Accessible Spaces, Spaces to Play and Hanok.
“I digital nomads are certainly among the types of travelers for whom we are developing important innovations – Trovato confirms – since the pandemic, millions of people today have the opportunity to live and work in a flexible way and our data show that in 2021 one in five guests used Airbnb for work remotely during his travels. A trend that continued in the first quarter of 2022, with long-term stays reaching an all-time high, doubling compared to the same period in 2019.
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From this new trend, we decided to launch the program globally ‘Live and Work Anywhere‘ with the intention of identifying the most suitable destinations and collaborating with local authorities and tourism promotion companies to equip and promote these territories as real ‘hubs’ for digital nomads. In Italy we have two, one developed with the city and the province of Toaststhe other who invests all the Friuli Venezia Giulia”.
Security, legality and inclusiveness: the proposals and some solutions
Safety of guests and owners, legality in terms of local and national taxation and inclusiveness are just some of the hot fronts for the platform, which has something like 4 million hosts who have welcomed over 900 million guests: “With the latest Winter Release we have extended the identity verification to all guests traveling to the first 35 countries on Airbnb, with the aim of extending it to the whole world by next spring – explains the country manager – speaking of inclusiveness, we have created the Accessible Spaces Category, which includes housing mapped using 3D technology by Matterport and verified to determine if they meet Airbnb’s accessibility criteria. On the other hand, with respect to legality, we have presented a proposal that includes a national registration requireda, the sharing of data on tourist flows with the authorities, the determination of national criteria for define and map the areas most under stress in which to intervene and the protection of small private property to clearly distinguish it from entrepreneurial activities which must be regulated more stringently. The goal is to find a balance between the needs of residents and sustainable tourism and for this we hope for legislation on short-term rentals that is homogeneous at national level, clear and easily implemented”.
The open fronts of the big names in tech and the impact of Airbnb for city centres
In a certain sense, Airbnb – precisely because of the sudden closures linked to Covid and the vertical collapse of global tourism in the two-year period 2020-2021 – experienced its dramatic moment at the beginning of the pandemic. What is about to end is a year of crisis for the big tech companies but not for the platform co-founded by Brian Chesky (who is the current CEO), Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk: “We lived through our dark moment in May 2020. We found ourselves making difficult decisions, which however in the end made us more agile and disciplined and ready to face future challenges. In Italy we have about thirty people. The office is in Milan, but we have the opportunity to live and work anywhere in Italy and around the world. Most colleagues have chosen to work remotely but we continue to meet on site for periodic meetings”.
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Among the most frequent complaints addressed to Airbnb is that of change the connotations of historic centers and many cities, pushing house prices upwards and depopulating certain areas of natives, aggravating the real estate crisis: “Only a small percentage of the total private residential properties in Italy are available on Airbnb – replies Trovato – we believe it is such a dimension that it cannot significantly influence the availability of accommodation, nor the price. However, we are aware that tourist and housing pressure represent a challenge in some highly visited cities of art, and for this reason, through our proposal, we want to be an active part in improving things”.