Airbnb: Group, solo travel on the rise in Malaysia


AIRBNB Inc has revealed that both group travel with loved ones and solo travel are on the rise in Malaysia. 

According to Airbnb GM for South-East Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan Amanpreet Bajaj, groups were Malaysia’s most common booking type in 2022 with group travel on Airbnb jumping 180% year-on-year (YoY). 

“Based on our internal data for 2022, group travel with an average group size of approximately four guests continue to be an avenue for many to connect with loved ones, especially during longer holidays. 

“At the same time, our data also revealed a growing momentum for solo travel in Malaysia where its booking doubled YoY in 2022. On a macro scale, solo travellers accounted for approximately one-quarter of all global nights booked last year,” Amanpreet said during a recent media sharing session entitled “Ushering in the Travel Rebound: Airbnb’s 2023 Travel Trends and Outlook”. 

He added that in recognition of the growing number of solo travellers, the online marketplace for short-term homestays and experiences company recently launched its “Solo Traveller Safety” feature to enable safe and convenient travel for solo travellers in Malaysia. 

“When a solo guest books a private or shared room reservation, this specialised in-app experience is activated and provides guest with access to three key features: Expert tips they may want to try to help stay safe when travelling solo, easy way to share their itinerary with anyone they choose, and prompts from Airbnb suggesting important questions to ask the host about their listing and neighbourhood,” he said, adding that this feature is available in English, Malay and Chinese. 

Meanwhile, Amanpreet also shared that Airbnb has seen almost a 600% growth in searches for check-ins in Malaysia for the Ramadhan period, with the top searched cities for the upcoming Aidilfitri festivities being Kota Kinabalu (KK), Johor Baru (JB), Georgetown, Kuching, Langkawi and Alor Setar. 

“From the data, we see that domestic travel and spending quality time with loved ones will continue to be a significant priorities and trends for Malaysians this year, followed by budget-friendly getaways to be the next key consideration for them. 

“Concurrently, the enthusiasm among Malaysians to explore their own backyard, coupled with the growing excitement among international visitors to experience Malaysia’s beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage, is extremely encouraging, and this is shown in our latest data where the nights booked in Malaysia on our platform doubled last year from 2020,” Amanpreet said, adding that Kuala Lumpur (KL) ranked second in Airbnb’s top trending destinations worldwide in the third quarter of 2022 (3Q22). 

Amanpreet also highlighted that KL claimed the top spot of Malaysians’ most booked domestic destinations, followed by Penang, Kota Baru, Petaling and Langkawi. 

“And with travel resuming across the globe and consumer confidence to travel remains high, Airbnb has seen a 20% YoY spike in nights and experiences booked globally in 4Q22. 

“Our data showed that Malaysian’s most booked overseas destinations were the UK, Australia, Thailand, Korea and Indonesia, while their most booked cities last year were London, Bangkok, Melbourne, Paris and Jakarta,” Amanpreet shared. 

Commenting on the proposed implementation of the Short-Term Rental Act (STRA) in Penang, Amanpreet said on a macro level, they welcome the regulation because it will help to create an ecosystem that is fair and benefits all stakeholders. 

“Due to rising cost of living, more Malaysians are being empowered to find ways to earn additional income and some 43% Malaysian homeowners we surveyed in 2022 revealed that they are considering of becoming an Airbnb host as an alternative for them, as well as to take advantage of the new appetite for travel. 

“Furthermore, when we talk about any regulation or Act, it is important for us to continue our engagement sessions or discussions with both the state and federal governments because our ultimate goal is creating an ecosystem that benefits all key players, and fair and equitable for everyone,” he said. 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition