Chinese Millenials Take on the Sharing Economy

Chinese travelers, especially Chinese millenials have become big consumers of shared accommodation when traveling. But as young Chinese millenials increasingly opt out of traditional hotels in favor of shared accommodation this will have a big impact on large hotel chains.

Here’s why this matters.

Wang Haining, a seasoned traveler, who says he has visited many cities both at home and abroad, chooses to avoid conventional hotels and instead opts for homestay, “Because it is more cost-effective and the host can introduce me to the local culture.”

“It’s a convenient way to get useful tips and gain a firsthand experience of local life,” says Wang, who began using house-sharing platforms, Airbnb, and its Chinese competitors such as Xiaozhu and Tujia, on the recommendation of a friend.

“This way of traveling allows me to interact with local residents and get a better understanding of local culture and customs.” he says. And he is not alone, a growing number of Chinese millenials opt for peer-to-peer accommodation when traveling.

According to a report jointly published by Airbnb and the China Tourism Academy, Chinese travelers have become big consumers of sharing accommodation overseas, as their footprint extends from Asia to the United States, Europe and Australia. Their usual travel span is from four to seven nights and they cite the main reason why they’d choose a homestay over a hotel as being able to connect with local culture.

Among Chinese millenials there’s a feeling that renting a room or apartment will allow more meaningful social interactions with locals and offer more unique experiences. As well this form of travel is perceived as being more cost-effective than a traditional hotel.

Considering the significant impact that Chinese travelers and especially millenials have on the global travel industry, hotel chains have taken notice. Many of the larger ones have introduced their own home sharing options or created brands designed to appeal to a socially conscious consumer. However the jury is out as to whether or note they’ll be able to keep Chinese millenials as part of their consumer base.

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