Market Analysis: Airbnb in Barbados
Disclaimer: The data used in this analysis was scraped in August 2017 from publicly displayed information on Airbnb’s website.
Airbnb is an increasingly popular P2P marketplace which allows individuals to list, discover and book room accommodations from over 191 countries with listings now totaling over 3 million across the world.
Barbados is no exception to this and as of this year, Airbnb is estimated to have 1100 listing in Barbados. Given the traction it’s having in a small economy such as Barbados, a brief market analysis will aid in understanding the market thus far and what we can expect going forward.
The methods I used to scrape Airbnb were a mixture of python and parsehub. This data was then cleaned and transformed into a data analysis friendly format. In terms of the accuracy, it’s thought that generally the accuracy of these methods on Airbnb is around 90%.
My sample came to a total of 1057 listings which is relatively close to the quoted 1100 listings. Surprisingly there were only 445 unique hosts, indicating roughly that each Host has on average 2 listings but however, this is not the case. Over 63% of the hosts only have one listing while 16% have two listings, over 17% have between three to ten listings and 2% have over ten.
A deeper look into the 2% who own ten or more listings showed that, they account for 28% of listings with 2 hosts having over 50 listings. An interesting fact to note as well, is that over half of the listings were in existence for over 3 years.
Using Airbnb’s generalized room types ( Entire home/apt, Private room & Shared room), the Entire home/apt category dominates with over 90% of the listings falling within it. In terms of property types, Apartments and Villas each account for 30% of the listings, followed by Houses which account for 26%. Notably, there are three listings registered as tents and two as boats (very interesting…..).
As a competitive tourism destination I was very pleased to see that approximately 27% of the listings identified that they can communicate in more than one language. On top of that, the average listing had an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 (yes I am aware of artificial reviews but its still great nevertheless).
On a Parish basis, as expected, most of the Airbnb listings were located in Saint James representing 38%, followed by Christ Church with 29% and 11% in Saint Peter. In terms, of villa concentration, over 65% of villas are located in Saint James, 15% in Saint Peter and only 7% in Christ Church.
Price and Demand
The cost per a night varied drastically among listings, with prices as high as $10,000USD/night and as low as $25USD/night. The average price was observed to be $634USD/night (due to anomalies and skewness), the median (a much better measure in this case) was $179USD/night and the mode was $75USD/night (this is one of the most common per night price for a listing).
Demand was proxied using the total amount of “travelers” who saved a particular listing. As of the end of July over 95% of the listings have at least one save, with an average and median of 148 and 57 per listing respectively. However, demand is quite skewed with 35% of the listings having more than 100 saves, 6% with over 500 and only 2% having over 1000 listings.
On a Parish basis, using median prices, Saint James had the highest, with a cost of $800USD/night, followed by Saint Peter with $298USD/night and surprisingly Saint Lucy with $236USD/night. A deeper look into Saint Lucy showed that over 60% of the listings in the parish were Villas which explains the high cost.
Comparing the mode price to find out what’s the most common price per night in each parish revealed that, Saint Thomas had the highest, with a cost of $198USD/night. Followed by $175USD/night and $172USD/night in Saint Peter and Saint Lucy respectively. Interestingly, The most common price in both Saint James and Christ Church was $75USD/night and in Saint Philip, $70USD/night.
In terms of the parish with the listing holding the highest saves, Christ Church took the spot with one listing having over 2,900. Saint John had the second highest with over 2,200, followed by Saint James (3rd), Saint Joseph (4th) and Saint Philip (5th) with saves of over 2,100, 1,800 and 1,400 respectively.
Just like any economist I was tempted to see if economics 101’s price and demand relationship existed in this market. A quick correlation showed the expected negative relationship with a correlation of -0.513. This indicates that lower prices are more likely to be associated with higher demand from travelers and higher prices are associated with lower demand from travelers.
Being super excited, I decided to see what other relationships existed.
The size of the listing (measured by max accommodation) was shown to have a positive relationship with price with a correlation of +0.817. Interestingly, it was also shown to represent approximately 66% of the variation in price. This indicates that the max guest capacity of a listing could be one of the major influences on price per night.
On the demand side, results indicated that there was a moderately positive relationship between demand and the amount of time a listing existed on Airbnb with a correlation of +0.439. This basically means, that listings tend to build up demand over time as expected, however it isn’t as positively strong as one would expect.
I decided to see if the number of listing selfies, resulted in more travelers going down in the host’s DM. Unfortunately, although the relationship was shown to be positive, the correlation was only +0.258. On the bright side however, on average a listing with 10 or more photos have 1.5 times more traveler saves than those that do not.
Airbnb allows the host to list over 40 amenities that will be available at the accommodation, from Wi-Fi to toys for children. I will however, be only discussing a handful of the more prominent amenities in this analysis. As expected the majority of listings provide Wi-Fi (95%), 78% have A/C, 59% have Cable TV, roughly 50% have Pools and only 12% have Gyms.
Only 7% of listings indicated that they provide breakfast but if you are a DIY person that’s no problem as 95% of the listings have a kitchen. Sadly however, a mere 9% of listings indicated that they were wheelchair accessible.
No worries if you are stuck with the kids, 82% of listings indicated that they are family and kid friendly. 42% of listings allow pets which is great news for all of you animal lovers out there but for those that don’t like pets, 93% of listings do not have pets on their property sooo… its a win-win situation!
For all the cheapsters out there (yes I mean you!) that don’t like to pay for parking, 80% of listings offer free parking. Interestingly, 3% of listings have indicated that they have heaters and 7 listings indicated that they have a fireplace (Why on earth?).
Speaking of being cheap and heat, how much are you willing to pay to cool off from the summer heat in A/C or a Pool?
Using median values due to anomalies and skewness, you can expect to pay 167USD (or 3 times) more per a night for A/C and 385USD (or 5 times) more per night for a Pool.
Wow! That’s a bit extreme, what about if we used the mode values to see what prices you are more likely to encounter?
You can expect to pay 35USD (or 2 times) more per a night for A/C and 100USD (2 1/3 times) more per night for a Pool.
Save that Money!
We have already discovered so far that on average the cheapest places to stay would be in Saint John or Saint Andrew. However, persons usually like to be in one of the tourism hot spots. Christ Church offers the lowest median price of approximately $99USD/night with the most common price being $75USD/night.
In terms of the cheap types of reasonable properties to stay in, results show them to be Guest Houses, Bungalows and Apartments. On median, Guest Houses charge $75USD/night with a more likely price of $50USD/night. Bungalows charge on median $75USD/night with a more likely price of $70USD/night and Apartments charge on median $80USD/night with a more likely price of $70USD/night.
When it comes to discounts, 29% of the listings offer weekly discounts with an average of 9% off and a median of 10%. In terms of monthly discounts, 40% of the listings offer discounts with an average discount of 18.5% and a median of 15%.
The longer you stay, the higher the discount on average you will receive.
Airbnb in Barbados appears to be quite diversified in terms of pricing, with prices ranging from under $100USD/night to over $5,00USD/night. Listings are located all across the island but are mostly concentrated in the tourism hot spots with Saint James, Christ Church, Saint Peter and Saint Michael, accounting for 87% of all listings.
In terms of room types, most are either listed as entire homes or apartments with greater variety in terms of property types. Apartments and Villas however, make up 60% of the listings with Villas being concentrated in Saint James and Apartments in Christ Church. Given this dynamic, it is clear to see why Christ Church was shown to be the most affordable tourism hot spot to stay in on median, while Saint James was the most expensive.
Most listings offered WI-FI and many offered A/C and Pools but however, few offered Gyms and even fewer were wheelchair accessible. On a positive note, 27% of listings indicated that they can communicate in a foreign language.
Overall, the relationship among several variables obeyed the classical theory. A negative relationship was observed between price and demand and a positive relationship between price and size. It was interesting to see a positive relationship between demand and the age of a listing and also to see a positive relationship between demand and the number of photos displayed of a particular listing.
For consumers, Airbnb provides an easy way to select accommodations through criteria selection and with such a large variety of property types in Barbados, it allows them to have multiple unique experiences. For hosts, Airbnb provides an easy way to set up a listing to provide additional income. However, almost a third of the market in Barbados is currently dominated by companies who have 10 or more listings.
Needless to say, the current market is concentrated in only a few places and may benefit from listings in other places and as well as more listings in the other property types besides Villas and Apartments. This will create greater diversification of the travelers’ experience.