Airbnb targets more Indian cities

Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb’s country manager for India, talks about the market and the company’s growth.

What are your thoughts on the sharing economy in India?

The combination of a wide base of entrepreneurs who are exploring new ideas, and public policy that is encouraging the growth of a start-up ecosystem, forms a healthy environment for the emergence of the sharing economy. Technology is a central factor that contributes to the growing concept of sharing economy, to enable scalability and to deliver economic impact. With the government’s focus on programmes such as Digital India, it is becoming easier for individuals to build sharing businesses that ride the technology wave, and even easier for their audiences to access these services.

What kind of growth has Airbnb seen in India?

Our listings have grown by 115 per cent over the course of the past year. With more than 18,000 listings in the country, our aim is only to go farther and wider across the multitude of cultural experiences, across neighbourhoods, towns and cities that are waiting to be explored. Half a million Indian guests have travelled on Airbnb since the company began in 2008.

India is a popular destination for Airbnb travellers, with most coming from the United States, UK and Australia. Top destinations to travel to in the country include Goa, New Delhi and Mumbai. The Indian market holds immense potential for a network like Airbnb. For several families, home sharing is an economic lifeline.

What are the biggest challenges that Airbnb has encountered in India?

Airbnb is a new model and rules that govern accommodation go back decades, as they did not anticipate the emergence of a business such as ours. Policies need to be reviewed and modernised, and governments are trying to figure out how to approach this since we are in different jurisdictions. The Indian government has signalled that home sharing has a lot of potential, and that is definitely a good sign.

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