Airbnb use on the rise in Christchurch

The rise of Airbnb’s popularity in Christchurch has seen guest nights in the city bounce back to near pre-earthquake levels.

Insights released today at ChristchurchNZ’s Summer Economic Update estimate, in the last three months to September 2017, Airbnb has a 20 percent share of all available accommodation stay units in the city – compared to just 1 percent in June 2016. This is compared to 32.5 percent in Auckland and 10 percent in Queenstown.

When this figure is added to guest nights collated by Statistics New Zealand for traditional accommodation providers – such as hotels and motels – it shows visitor guest nights in Christchurch are almost as high as they were before the earthquakes.

The total number of Airbnb accommodation units in the city has almost doubled in the 12 months to September 2017, rising from 1158 to 2035. Occupancy rates for September 2017 for all Airbnb accommodation was at approximately 43 percent.

ChristchurchNZ chief executive Joanna Norris said the insights show how innovation and the rise of technology is impacting on traditional sectors.

“Airbnb is a clear example of a disruptor; where consumer demand – supported by technology – drives change at exponential rates. Businesses that create opportunities off the back of disruptors are those that will flourish. It’s about being agile and responding or anticipating to changes like this fast.”

ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Marketing Rowan Worner said visitor arrivals to Christchurch have continued to track upwards to pre-earthquake levels and visitor spending has also been on the increase.

“But guest nights didn’t seem to be bouncing back the same way, appearing that arrivals were not converting to people staying in Christchurch,” she said.

Rowan said there was a feeling anecdotally Airbnb use was rising, giving visitors more accommodation options when visiting the city.

“The formation of ChristchurchNZ, with economists on hand, had seen the assumptions looked at in more detail and proven to be correct. We know there are lots of different types of travellers, who require different types of accommodation and this growth is obviously filling a need.”

The insights into Airbnb usage were based on data from AirDNA, an analytics platform which takes data off Airbnb’s website to give understandings on the performance of Airbnb rentals worldwide. The average active listings and average occupancy rates on Airbnb were used to determine what percentage of the visitor market was using the accommodation booking website in Christchurch.

ChristchurchNZ is the economic development and city profile agency for Christchurch.

• A short Airbnb insights video has been produced for media use.


Background information:

Visitor spending in Christchurch for the year to September 2017 was $2.238 billion, with growth of 3.7 percent on the same time last year. This makes up 8.2 percent of the annual $27.3 billion of visitor spending nationally, for the year ending September 2017.