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  • Case study

    The Future of Airbnb Made in Sydney

  • Sydney has a forward-thinking environment that’s conducive to growth and growth companies

    like Airbnb. Sam McDonagh, Airbnb Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand

  • Airbnb vastly grows its Australian business through Sydney

    Airbnb’s presence in Sydney has helped it reach 148,000 Australian

    property listings and more than 5 million guest arrivals in Australia.

    Airbnb first set up an office in

    Sydney in 2012 to attract more

    Australian hosts and guests to its

    platform. Back then, the home-

    sharing company only had about

    5,000 Australian properties

    listed on its site. Now it boasts

    more than 150,000 local listings

    and in 2017 it welcomed more

    than 5 million guests to stay with

    Australian Airbnb hosts.

    Australians have become some of

    the most active users of Airbnb,

    according to Sam McDonagh, the

    company’s Country Manager for

    Australia and New Zealand.

    “Australia is the most penetrated

    market for Airbnb,” says

    McDonagh. “Australians

    account for the largest

    percentage of bookings made

    on our platform globally.”

    Airbnb’s presence in Sydney

    has played a key role in this

    success by giving the company

    an opportunity to amplify its

    message, says McDonagh. The

    company doesn’t establish an

    office in every country where

    it has listings, but it decided to

    in Australia, given the country’s

    importance to its business.

    Fast facts about Airbnb

    Originated in

    San Francisco, California

    Has one Australian office,

    located in Sydney’s

    Surry Hills

    The world’s best-known

    home-sharing company

    Has property listings in

    81,000 cities and

    191 countries

  • A natural choice

    Sydney is the heart of the

    Australian Airbnb community,

    making it a natural choice

    for the company’s office,

    according to McDonagh.

    New South Wales (NSW)

    represents about one-third of

    Airbnb’s Australian business with

    more than 57,000 listings—and

    Sydney accounts for a large share

    of that. Since 2015, Sydney has

    ranked in Airbnb’s global top

    10 cities, based on the number

    of listings and users.

    The company also appreciated

    Sydney’s in-depth expertise in

    the travel industry and online

    marketplaces. “Sydney has a

    forward-thinking environment

    that’s conducive to growth and

    growth companies like Airbnb,”

    says McDonagh.

    The ability to access the best and

    most diverse talent was another

    reason for the company’s choice.

    “Sydneysiders speak more than

    275 different languages and

    about a third of NSW residents

    were born overseas,” says

    McDonagh. “These really play

    into Airbnb’s commitment to

    diversity and belonging.”

    The one thing that we see is that Sydney and NSW understand that they need to create the right environment to fully nurture innovation and

    good ideas. Sam McDonagh, Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand

    Creating the right environment for business

    Airbnb has benefited from the NSW Government’s effort to create

    a conducive environment for home sharing and its holistic approach

    to innovation. McDonagh cites the introduction of fair, new home-

    sharing rules as an example of this kind of approach.

    The NSW Government has

    introduced new statewide rules

    for short-term holiday letting

    that are designed to ensure

    local families and communities

    continue to benefit from the

    activity, while protecting

    neighbours from anti-social

    behaviour.

    According to McDonagh, the

    NSW Government engaged all

    sectors and stakeholders of the

    home-sharing community before

    it drafted the rules. “As a result

    of that engagement, we felt that

    the NSW Government has come

    up with a really good model to

    allow home-sharing to continue

    to flourish.”

    McDonagh believes the new rules

    demonstrate that NSW embraces

    tourism and innovation. They

    also provide clarity for Airbnb’s

    business and certainty for its

    host community to continue to

    operate in NSW.

    “As a business, certainty and

    clarity are what we want,”

    says McDonagh.

    The NSW Government also

    supports the introduction of

    innovative products and services.

    Through its Sydney office, Airbnb

    has launched the platforms

    Airbnb for Work and Airbnb

    Experiences to provide visitors

    and businesses more options

    in their accommodation and

    activities in Australia. Airbnb

    for Work provides bookings

    for business trips, while Airbnb

    Experiences offers activities like

    tours that locals design and lead.

    “The one thing that we see is that

    Sydney and NSW understand

    that they need to create the right

    environment to fully nurture

    innovation and good ideas,”

    says McDonagh.

  • Working with the NSW Government

    Airbnb looks forward to continuing to work with the NSW Government to develop that kind of environment and ensure that NSW remains an attractive place for visitors and events.

    “Whether it’s in terms of encouraging events and businesses to come

    to Sydney and the rest of NSW, or attracting visitors from overseas

    and other parts of Australia, I think there’s a significant opportunity

    for the NSW Government,” says McDonagh. “And we look forward to

    supporting that in whatever capacity in the future.”

    Learn more The NSW Department of Industry can assist businesses looking to invest in the Tourism and Technology sectors by providing market intelligence, information on investment opportunities, support for business case development and connections with government contacts and the local business network.

    Contact the NSW Government’s Industry, Trade and Investment team by visiting invest.nsw.gov.au

    www.invest.nsw.gov.au

  • The Future Made Here T: +61 2 8222 4888

    W: invest.nsw.gov.au

    © State of New South Wales through Department of Industry 2019.

    The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and

    understanding at the time of writing (February 2019). However, because of

    advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that the

    information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of

    the information with the appropriate officer of the Department of Industry

    or the user’s independent adviser.

    PUB19/22

    www.invest.nsw.gov.au

    Case study The Future of Airbnb Made in Sydney Airbnb vastly grows its Australian business through Sydney Fast facts about Airbnb A natural choice Creating the right environment for business Working with the NSW Government Learn more