Airbnb Draws Tourists Off the Beaten Path

Airbnb connects travelers from around the world to unique rentable spaces. With the recent launch of a "Neighborhoods" feature, Airbnb has the potential to redirect tourist spending to often overlooked areas.

November 15, 2012, 2:00 PM PST

By jerinbrent

While tourists often crave authentic, local experiences from the cities they visit, information about where to go and what to do is often limited to the tried and true destinations. Fast Company writer, Ariel Schwartz laments, "Whenever I happen to be walking near San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf area--ground zero for tourists--I want to yell at passersby: 'Get out of here! There are so many more vibrant parts of the city that you could be visiting.'"

Airbnb, the website that allows travelers to book spaces on a peer-to-peer platform, has created a unique Neighborhoods feature that highlights the nooks and crannies of popular cities, providing a new way to experience places like San Francisco. Airbnb solicited the input from "neighborhood experts", local street photographers and hired their own cartographer to create comprehensive guides to 300 neighborhoods in 7 cities: New York, Paris, London, San Francisco, Berlin, Washington DC, and Rio de Janeiro.

"Airbnb has some serious economic power," writes Schwartz, "According to a recent study from HR&A Advisors, Airbnb guests in San Francisco stay in their accommodations for an average of 5.5 days and spend approximately $1,045 on transportation, shopping, and food. At the same time, 90% of guests visiting San Francisco (and presumably other cities) prefer to stay in areas that are 'off the beaten track.'"

Neighborhoods businesses that are used to serving locals might see a boost from tourism in the near future.

Thanks to Jessica Brent

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 in Fast Co.Exist

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