The two rivals, as they’re increasingly positioned, both released numbers asserting their (perceived) dominance in the sector, with Booking.com reporting 5.7 million alternative accommodations listings – accounting for $2.8 billion in revenue, or 20% of the company’s overall revenue – in 2018.
Shortly after, Airbnb swung back, claiming six million listings and more than half a billion guest arrivals since 2008. (As a privately held company, Airbnb has not disclosed how much revenue its Homes product has generated, but it did report $1 billion in total revenue for the first time in November.)
Right on cue, Booking.com countered by reporting that in roughly the same time frame, since 2007, it’s counted a higher figure of 748,000 guest arrivals.
The race is no doubt on, with Airbnb setting the stage for an eventual IPO. But what’s in it for Booking?
Breaking it down
Booking.com’s decision to publicly break down its private accommodation revenue, as well as to tout its listings and arrivals numbers, has been a strategic move to clear up confusion around its business and to defend its position as a top player in the space, says Leslie Cafferty, Booking.com Senior Vice President and Head of Global Communications.
“We’ve been quite aggressive in the [private accommodation] space for quite a long time, but we weren’t that vocal about it,” she says.
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