Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast explains why Airbnb is exiting China, how Doha rose to the top of the most-searched list, and pivotal moments in the history of short-term rentals.

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Episode Notes

Short-term rentals are an enormously powerful sector in travel, having experienced an enormous boom in popularity in recent years. Executive Editor Dennis Schaal delves into the evolution of short-term rentals in the second part of his three part series, The Definitive Oral History of Short-Term Rentals.

Part two of the oral history examines, among other topics, the rise of Airbnb, including what happened when a top executive invited major hotel executives for get-to-know-you sessions at Airbnb headquarters, mostly in 2014. In addition, Schaal explores how the vacation rental business transformed from a classified ad model to an online booking model with major websites processing the bookings.

We head to China next. Airbnb is closing its domestic business in the world’s most populous country, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.

The online travel agency is shutting down both the hotels and tours-and-activities offerings listed on its platform in China, according to a report from CNBC on Monday. China is the first market where Airbnb has failed to have more success than its local rivals, and the company joins a list of major Western corporations that have struggled to make inroads in the country, including Uber.

However, China does not represent a significant portion of Airbnb’s business — no more than 3 percent of the company’s global revenue comes from the country, according to a Skift Research report.

We conclude today in Doha. The Qatari capital, the jumping off point for soccer’s World Cup this November and December, is the world’s most searched destination, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.

Doha has recorded the biggest jump of any destination worldwide in online searches over the last three years, according to travel metasearch site Skycanner. The city jumped 262 places to occupy the top spot for most searched locations for travelers from North and South America, while it rose 172 spots to be the highest trending destination for European travelers.

The immense interest in visiting Doha comes as the city continues its preparations for the World Cup. The event will take place at eight stadiums within a 30-mile radius of Doha, and the tournament is expected to attract roughly 1.5 million fans to Qatar.

Tags: airbnb, china, doha, expedia, homeaway, qatar, skift podcast, vrbo