No one can deny the regrettable fact that technology adoption is still at a nascent stage in Pakistan but thanks to the pandemic, the process of digitalization have accelerated in the country. A lesser known fact is that now, technology has begun disrupting the traditional hospitality industry of Pakistan.
Lately, mobile applications specializing in lodging and boarding, homestays for vacation rentals, and tourism activities have gained pace in Pakistan, and listings on the applications are on an uptrend.
A New Era For Pakistan’s Hospitality Industry (Urdu)
Just like ride-hailing companies and online delivery services, these applications connect hosts (homeowners willing to offer a room or whole property for lodging and boarding of customers) and consumers (primarily vacationers). Owing to a drop in bookings during the pandemic, many hotel owners were encouraged to list vacant rooms on the application.
In particular, one enterprise that stands out in this regard is Airbnb, which is witnessing a lofty growth in the number of hosts. As a global giant in digital hospitality solutions, the company is trusted by customers as well which bodes well for the application. Leading competitors of the application are Vrbo, Booking.com, The Plum Guide, Agoda Homes, and Homestay.
Silent entry into Pakistan
AirDNA Personal Relations Associate Madeleine Parkin told The Express Tribune that “taking a quick look at the figures, there has been huge growth in the short-term rental market in Pakistan.” Across the country, in December 2021, there were 128% more listings available than in December 2019.
AirDNA which is a provider of data and analytics for the short-term rental industry “We only have three areas mapped in our system, but the national total includes all properties in the country, despite this,” she said.
According to her, Punjab had 1,705 listings on Airbnb in December 2021 which was 140% of December 2019’s figure. Moreover, Islamabad’s listings witnessed 148% growth on a year-on-year basis and stood at 1,381 last month. Sindh lagged behind in the number of listings with just 515 spots in December 2021 however it still witnessed a 79% year-on-year growth.
In terms of demand in Pakistan, there has also been an increase from 2019, with 67% more nights stayed in December 2021 than in December 2019. However, in the high season, the demand was only around the same levels as in the summer of 2019, with only a 3% increase in August.
“In comparison, the US, which has the most listings of any country in the world at 1.14 million, actually lost 4% of its listings from December 2019 to December 2021,” she detailed. “However, there is strong variance in destination types, with large cities losing the most of their supply against small cities and rural destinations, which have increased their supply, along with their demand.”
Despite having the least amount of listings, Sindh excelled in average occupancy rate, average earnings, and average occupancy. Data from AirDNA showed that the average daily rate in Sindh for an Airbnb spot stood at Rs9,622 against Rs7,211 in Punjab and Rs6,112 in Islamabad Capital Territory.
Similarly, average occupancy in Sindh and Islamabad amounted to 23% against 18% in Punjab. Finally, the average revenue earned by an Airbnb listing owner in Karachi amounted to a lofty Rs49,500 compared to Rs35,300 in Punjab and Rs35,800 in Islamabad.