Commission (Eurostat) publishes first statistics on short-stay accommodation booked via collaborative economy platforms

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published today first key data on short-stay accommodation booked via four private platforms active in the tourism sector. This is a result of the March 2020 landmark agreement between the Commission and Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group and Tripadvisor, which began collaboration between these platforms and Eurostat.

The data published today are a first step and will be regularly updated by Eurostat. In particular, they cover national, regional and city-level data on the number of stays booked and the number of nights spent in accommodation booked via these four platforms. Such information will (i) contribute to more complete statistics on tourism accommodation in Europe, (ii) allow public authorities to better understand the development of the collaborative economy (in particular, short-term accommodation rentals services) and (iii) support evidence-based policies.

Prior to today’s publication, European official statistics provided only limited coverage of this part of the short-stay accommodation sector since data on rentals of holiday homes, apartments and rooms in otherwise private buildings are often outside the scope of existing tourism registers and surveys. The figures published today are an important step towards closing this gap. They cover accommodation booked via Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group and Tripadvisor in 2018 and 2019, offering valuable insights into the importance of the collaborative economy for the tourism sector before the COVID pandemic.

The Commission aims at publishing in the course of the year further data on short-term accommodation rentals provided by these platforms for 2020. They will offer useful inputs for policy makers and will feed into the process of co-creating a transition pathway for a more sustainable, innovative and resilient tourism ecosystem.

Commissioner Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “This successful collaboration between Eurostat and the four main platforms for short-term rental accommodation is a model for providing more comprehensive and reliable statistics through access to privately held data. The figures published today are an important source of information for European public authorities and can contribute to better policy-making, while protecting personal information.”

Commissioner Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said:The COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the tourism industry, a key sector of the EU’s economy. Like other European industries, the future of tourism will hinge on our collective ability to transition to a greener, more digital and resilient future. By 2030, Europe should be a top quality destination known globally for its sustainable offer, and attracting responsible and environmentally conscious travelers. The comprehensive data on short-term accommodation rentals published today will support public authorities in developing evidence-based policies.”

Key findings

  • In 2019 (the year before the COVID-19 pandemic, which strongly hit the tourism sector), guests spent more than 554 million nights in an accommodation booked via Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group or Tripadvisor in the EU. This means that, on an average day, around 1.5 million guests slept in a bed booked through one of these four platforms. The number of nights spent in short-term accommodation booked via the four platforms grew by 14 % between 2018 and 2019.
  • The top city destinations for bookings through one of the four platforms were: (i) the urban areas of Paris (15.1 million guest nights); (ii) Barcelona (11.3 million); (iii) Rome (10.4 million); (iv) Lisbon (10.5 million); and, (v) Madrid (8.3 million).
  • The five most popular destination countries for stays booked via the four private platforms were: (i) Spain (112 million guest nights); (ii) France (109 million); (iii) Italy (83 million guest nights); (iv) Germany (40 million); and (v) Portugal (33 million).The 20 most popular regions in the EU account for nearly half (48%) of the total number of guest nights booked via the four platforms. Most of these top 20 regions are located in Spain (six regions), France or Italy (five respectively), while two regions are in Portugal, one in Croatia and one in Hungary. In the three most popular regions, guests booked more than 20 million nights in 2019: Andalusia (26 million), Adriatic Croatia (25 million) and Catalonia (21 million). In 2019, these three regions accounted for 13% of the total guest nights spent in the EU that were booked via the four platforms. The regional breakdown can be found in the map below.

The full release package, which is available here, includes a detailed article on Eurostat’s “Statistics Explained” platform and tables covering data for more than 200 European cities and all regions (defined at NUTS3 level[1]), but also analyses the country of origin of the guest and the seasonality of the number of bookings and of guest nights.

Eurostat

Background

The collaborative economy covers a great variety of sectors and is rapidly growing across Europe. In the tourism sector, the collaborative economy provides many exciting opportunities for citizens as consumers, as well as for micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs. At the same time, its rapid development has led to challenges, particularly in popular tourist destinations. As a result, cities and other communities are seeking to strike a balance between promoting tourism, with the economic benefits it brings, and maintaining the integrity of local communities.

To promote a balanced development of the collaborative economy, in 2016, the Commission issued Guidelines on how existing EU rules apply to the collaborative economy. A series of workshops in 2017 and 2018 identified policy principles and good practices specifically on collaborative short-term accommodation services.

In the short-term rental sector, the Commission is also working with cities around Europe to address issues that have arisen as a result of the rapid growth of collaborative short-term accommodation rentals and maintains a continuous exchange with local regulators. These discussions, which will now benefit also from the statistics published today, address possible policy actions and good practices for consideration of public authorities and other stakeholders when putting into place policy measures in line with EU law.

In March 2020, the Commission reached a landmark agreement with Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group and Tripadvisor on data sharing. The agreement, signed between each platform and Eurostat (on behalf of the European Commission), allows Eurostat to obtain key data from the four collaborative platforms and publish on its website experimental statistics on short-term accommodation rentals concluded through these platforms. Among other data, platforms agreed to share, on a continuous basis, figures on the number of nights booked and the number of guests.

The privacy of citizens, including guests and hosts, is protected in line with applicable EU legislation and data will not allow individual citizens or property owners to be identified. The data provided by the four platforms is then subject to statistical validation and aggregated by Eurostat. Eurostat publishes data for all Member States as well as many individual regions and cities by combining the information obtained from the platforms.

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