Airbnb flourishing in Malaysia with 18,000 listed properties

Airbnb South-east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan country manager Robin Kwok. — Picture by Malay Mail
Airbnb South-east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan country manager Robin Kwok. — Picture by Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — Airbnb South-east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan country manager Robin Kwok said there are already 18,000 Malaysian properties listed on Airbnb.

She said the number of choices available is projected to at least triple by 2020 — based on feedback received from local interested parties, existing hosts and guests.

“The interesting part is that we also look across the world to determine what the top trending neighbourhoods are in a country.

“These are neighbourhoods that people are looking for and these are the places they want to stay in,” Kwok said.

She said what’s also interesting was that they (tourists) are not just staying in major urban centres like Kuala Lumpur and Penang, where rental has been stable, but they are also going to Ipoh, Cameron Highlands, Port Dickson, Lumut and more.

“We saw a 1,000 per cent growth in Lumut and it is a huge displacement. People are searching for something new because they want to explore the uniqueness of each locale,” she said.

Kwok said Airbnb also focused on quality and it has recently introduced a “5-Star Review” mechanism to measure feedback and reputation between hosts and guests.

“These reviews are like online referrals that can help the host’s business.

“Reviews on Airbnb are unique as they are for each unit of accommodation and it is tied to individual hosts. When guests look for accommodation, they will not only see reviews for a specific unit but also see reviews for other available units belonging to the same owner.” 

This makes the review feature especially important for full-time Airbnb hosts with multiple units available for rent. Having great reviews for their first few units can make it easier for hosts to launch their newer units.

To further improve on its customer experience, Airbnb recently launched its Airbnb Experiences which is part of its endurance trip platform.

“What we expect is for Airbnb Experiences to showcase the top trending activities in the neighbourhood.

“In South-east Asia, we launched it last March in Singapore, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.

“We have over 800 experiences right now from 20 cities. By the end of the year, we expect to receive experiences from 50 cities around the world,” said Kwok. 

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