Skift Take

The U.S. alternative accommodations market remains a one-horse race with Airbnb leading its rivals, but the brand's smart first-mover advantage has also turned it into the whipping boy for local tax authorities and hotel lobbies. This turbulent landscape leaves plenty of room for new consumer-facing brands but also opportunities across the broader alternative accommodations ecosystem.

Today we are launching the latest report in our Skift Trends Reports service, The State of Alternative Accommodations 2016

The complex issues and questions being raised by alternative accommodations providers are clear proof that these businesses are no longer in their infancy, or startup stages. As Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey, and others enter into adolescence, they’re being confronted with the reality that there’s much more involved in enabling people to belong anywhere or live like a local.

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In this latest report, we analyze the sharing economy and alternative accommodations in the context of regulation in the United States, its impact on housing and traditional hotel markets — but also take a peak at the bigger technology ecosystem now developing around brands like Airbnb, the clear global front runner in this race to win the hearts and minds of the consumer.

The Alternative Accommodations Ecosystem

Alternative Accommodations Ecosystem

Graph courtesy of Jason Shuman:

The business facing platforms for the alternative accommodation sector have also extended into new directions. Services such as concierges, also known as rental managers, take care of all the steps involved in renting: listing, pricing, cleaning and laundry, key delivery, and the whole booking and scheduling process. Tech-enabled rental management, make use of technology to facilitate the management of alternative listings, through the use of smart locks and remote support.

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We also tap into our latest comprehensive survey Skift’s 2016 In-Destination Behavior Survey to profile the alternative accommodations loyalists based on age and eight other variables.


Data pulled from Skift’s U.S. Traveler In-Destination Survey 2016. Question: Would you consider yourself “loyal” to any of the following online travel brands? Please select the ones you are “loyal” to.

The trajectory of this ecosystem largely boils down to economics — i.e. supply and demand and the ability of these platforms to generate the ample inventory that consumers want. Here we partnered with short-term rental market data provider Transparent to better understand the inventory and pricing dynamics impacting five key metro areas in the United States: Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.


Data generated in partnership with Transparent –

Full List of Figures

Profiling the Alternative Accommodations Loyalist

  • Share of Total HomeAway Family Web Traffic
  • Age Segmentation: Respondents Loyal to Alternative Accommodations Brands
  • How many leisure trips do you take every year?
  • Do you currently have any of the following messaging apps installed on your smartphone? Select all that apply.
  • How likely are you to use a dating app to connect with locals while traveling, either on this trip or on other trips?
  • How likely are you to post regular updates and pictures of your trip on social media?
  • During this particular trip. Would you say that you use social media more often or less often than when you are at home?
  • During your trip, have you used any of the following apps or websites to find restaurants and places to eat?
  • During your trip, did you leave an online review of a restaurant or hotel?
  • Back home, how often do you use ride sharing apps such as Uber or Lyft as a mode of transportation?
  • During this particular trip, have you used any of the following ride sharing apps to “get around”?
  • Do you currently use any of the following smartphone apps to pay for things either online or at physical stores?

Data Dive Into Pricing and Inventory

  • Number of Alternative Accommodation Listings in the Top 5 US Counties
  • Number of Alternative Accommodation Listings per Platform
  • Number of Alternative Accommodation Listings per 1000 Inhabitants
  • Type of Airbnb listings in the Top 5 US Alternative Accommodation Markets
  • Median Age of the Current Alternative Accommodation Inventory per County
  • Median Age of the Current Alternative Accommodation Inventory per Region
  • Median Price of the Current Alternative Accommodation Inventory per County
  • Median Price for Entire Apartments in the Alternative Accommodation Scene
  • Share of Luxury Alternative Accommodation Inventory per Region
  • Share of Luxury Alternative Accommodation Listings per County
  • Share of Luxury Alternative Accommodation Listings per Platform

New York Pricing and Inventory Deep Dive

  • Interactive Map: Concentration of Listings in New York
  • Interactive Map: Median Price per County in New York

Rental Platform Web Traffic Analysis

  • Overview Airbnb
  • Traffic Share Airbnb
  • Overview
  • Traffic Share
  • Overview HomeAway
  • Traffic Share HomeAway

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This is the latest in a series of twice-monthly reports aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 100 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep-dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

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Tags: airbnb, flipkey, homeaway, hotels, research reports, vrbo

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