Airbnb Inc, the home sharing company, is planning to expand its partnership with state tourism boards and government bodies in India. Moreover, the company is also looking to exploit the untapped location on its global platform.
The San Francisco-headquartered company has now been operating in India since last three years and have signed memorandums of understanding with the tourism departments of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
This year, with the objective of creating awareness in the homestays in the northeastern region, the company has partnered with several government agencies in the North-East, including the North Eastern Council (NEC) and North East Tourism Development Council (NETDC).
Speaking to the Financial daily, Mint Amanpreet Bajaj, country manager, Airbnb India said that "Government partnerships have been one of the key foundational pieces for our brand in India... We want to scale up our presence and go deeper in these states. We are also looking (for more partnerships) with other states." He further added that "Our MoU with the governments and creating more awareness around homestays is critical for our success."
Airbnb is now eyeing rural areas where there are limited hotel chains and in the same direction, the company has conducted workshops on homestays and skill development programmes on hospitality, through partnerships with the government. The company believes that with the government and tourism departments on-board, it would help create the right ecosystem for homestays.
Bajaj said that "The idea is to create a homestay ecosystem, bring more homestays into the global platform, conduct multiple workshops to skill people around hospitality and share best practices from across the world in terms of how homestays operate."
Presently, across 100 cities in India, around 40,000 homes are listed with Airbnb with Goa having around 6,200 listings that are its biggest market in the country. Bajaj plans to make inroads in the rural areas of the country.
In association with the Maharashtra government, the company is conducting awareness programmes around homestays as a pilot project in places such as Sindhudurg, a district in Maharashtra, and other tourist attractions like Ellora Caves.