San Francisco-based travel website Airbnb.com is taking advantage of the Philippines’ travel boom as it introduces the “unhotel” concept, where tourists pay to stay in real peoples’ homes instead of hotels, to the local market.
Airbnb.com officials in a recent briefing said tourists now demand a more authentic experience when traveling to countries like the Philippines, driving demand for new kinds of accommodation.
“People want something more real,” Airbnb.com Southeast Asia director JJ Chai said in an interview.
“What’s a better way to understand the culture of a country than staying in a real home?” Chai said.
“Manila is a growing travel destination, and people from the Philippines are traveling abroad at increasing rates, so we believe it will be a crucial market for us as we continue to grow,” Airbnb.com co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said in a separate statement.
Airbnb.com chose Manila as the location of its 12th global sales office in the world. It is also the second in Southeast Asia, next to Singapore.
Airbnb.com works as a market place where homeowners can list spare rooms or even unused homes that they are willing to rent out to travelers for short periods of time.
Travelers can then search for rooms or homes that fit their needs and budget on the Airbnb site.
The rooms listed on Airbnb are seen as cheaper and more authentic alternatives to traditional hotel rooms.
The company said there were 975 rooms or homes in the Philippines that are currently listed on Airbnb.com. About 530 of these are located in Metro Manila.
Guests from 67 different countries have traveled to the Philippines and have stayed in rooms listed on Airbnb.com. In 2012, the number of travelers staying in Airbnb.com-listed rooms in the Philippines grew 345 percent over the year before.