Beyond cities: how Airbnb supports rural revitalisation

Airbnb democratises tourism by bringing its economic benefits to communities that typically haven’t shared in these benefits in the past. With hosts keeping nearly 97 percent of the listing price, and a global average of 42 percent of guest spending occurring within the neighbourhoods where they stay, the economic impact of home sharing can be significant for atypical travel destinations.

As the balance of the global population has shifted to cities, so have government resources and business capital, causing a widening gap in economic opportunity between urban and rural areas. At Airbnb, we believe hosting can be a means of helping to close this gap by enabling many more people and communities to share in the returns of the tourism boom, not just the traditional hospitality industry.

While our work with cities receives the most attention, our growth beyond cities—including in all 11 countries studied for this report—is outpacing our growth within cities as we work with local governments to support rural revitalization. Home sharing also helps communities welcome more visitors without having to invest in expensive, permanent hospitality infrastructure, including for major events that can bring unprecedented infusions of revenue and put previously little known destinations on the global map.

$1.06 billion

2016 income for Airbnb non-urban hosts in the 11 countries studied for this report

8.5 million

2016 guest arrivals at non-urban listings in the 11 countries studied

Many rural communities around the world have had little investment by the hotel establishment. In the countryside of France, we’ve been able to watch home sharing transform the traditional tourist season in real time.

Our campaigns to help promote the small villages of France make us really proud. This report describes through host stories, partnership details and data how Airbnb holistically helps benefit the rural communities our hosts call home and in which our guests increasingly feel they belong. 

France highlight

Data: The Airbnb community in rural areas

  • Rural listings grew from 25,000 in 2015 to 47,000 in 2016
  • 88% : year-over-year growth in rural listings
  • 60% of rural hosts are women
  • 50 years old is the average age of rural hosts
  • Annual income for Airbnb hosts in rural France has risen to €105 million in 2016

Marielle Terouinard, Châtillon-en-Dunois

Marielle is a passionate, 44-year-old host living in the French countryside. She was born in Paris and lived in Australia and Ireland before settling in Châtillon-en-Dunois, where her father has been the mayor for 37 years. Châtillon-en-Dunois is located about two hours’ drive from Paris in the center of the country, and she says she would never leave the area for any reason.

Marielle’s mission is “to make the countryside great again.” That’s why, 14 years ago, she founded Agricool, a local organisation that aims to make the village more dynamic. She regularly organises open-air rummage sales, tombolas, local painting exhibitions and sports events. Marielle has always been very engaged in connecting people and building relationships, and loves when people meet and share good times together.

Sharing her home on Airbnb has given Marielle another way to help make connections. “Airbnb is one of the best ways ever for the French villages to be known in France, but also around the world.” She sees Airbnb as a movement and a worldwide community, and thinks home sharing enables a new way of getting in contact with a very specific and local way of living. Her next challenge: creating an “Airbnb Open Doors Day” with other hosts!

When Marielle hosts, she shares everything she can, making fresh fruit salad for her guests each morning, providing them with tips for strolls through the area, and always giving her departing guests a jar of homemade jam. “This is my way of saying ‘thank you!’” Marielle’s Airbnb income helps support the housework and her love of gardening, but she hosts to meet new people and share the beauty of her way of life.