THE LAST DECADE HAS BROUGHT LOCAL LODGING EXPERIENCES TO THE FORE
One of the most significant developments in terms of where we bed down is the proliferation of home rental firms like Airbnb. Since its 2008 launch, it’s clocked up 200 million guests and become a household name. James McClure, general manager for northern Europe, says: ‘We tapped into the desire that travellers want to live like locals and get more out of their experience; to experience cities not as tourists but as locals.’ Its growth shows no signs of slowing. Airbnb now offers four million listings in 191 countries. Since 2014, bookings have doubled year-on-year and it’s not just due to the number of places available. Price is the core driver, but a hankering for greener, more respectful travel practices and engagement with local culture as well as the freedom to cook, use washing facilities and not to be tied to hotel meal times are key. By connecting hosts with guests, the Airbnb Trips app, launched last year, helps visitors plan to meet locals before they arrive.