Airbnb now Rivaling Nairobi Hotel Industry to the Core, why?

Statistics have shown that Airbnb is now rivalling the hotel industry to the core since the pandemic invasion. The business has gradually taken space in the hospitality industry, eating into the hotel business.

Averagely, bed occupancy has continued to recover after the Covid-19 pandemic, albeit slowly.

Airbnb was created in 2008 as a cheaper means of accommodation for the average customer, to blossom. Through the internet, the sector has expanded largely.

Data from vacation rental research firm AirDNA shows that Airbnb has listed more rooms for rent than any hotel chain in the world.

Locally, Airbnb is enjoying divergent growth and presence across Kenya in recent years. Nairobi is leading in the number of units put up for this type of accommodation.

A survey was done in 2018 about cities with the highest number of Airbnb facilities in Africa. Nairobi was ranked in the third position.

As most hotels either closed or scaled down their operations due to public health measures taken to prevent the spread of the pandemic as well significant reduction in the number of patrons, Airbnb units mushroomed in various estates in the country.

Currently, Kenya has nearly 20,000 listings on the platform. This has been boosted by KRA’s approval of various taxes and permits to allow one to list their home for travellers’ accommodation.

On average, the daily cost of leasing Airbnb in Nairobi is currently Sh4,969 which is a drop from Sh5,585 charged in January.

There exists various reason that attracts investors to this ‘hidden’ lucrative sector.

Easy Management

AIrbnbs, unlike hotels, enable one to manage and maintain their own listing which reduces their operating costs significantly.

Through proper communication, clients’ needs and services are well catered for. This enables consistent rotation of satisfied clients, hence maintaining the business.

Nevertheless, Airbnb is that they offer a KES. 1 Million damage insurance for any damages that could be caused by the guest. This is an additional value-add to the business.

Wide Market/Large Customer Case

Individuals and smaller companies have taken advantage of the reduced startup costs and the ability to reach a broad customer base to enter this business. They are therefore able to compete with their larger counterparts for the same consumer dollar.

Many companies have used this platform to grow their business and become household names in their respective industries.

For instance, small companies have effectively leveraged the Internet to grow from small businesses to industry titans.

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Airbnb unlike hotels cater for a range of customer. From couples looking for a romantic honeymoon destination in Kenya to friends groups looking for a weekend getaway less than an hour from Nairobi to target groups of travellers who need large, but basic accommodation and much more.

Most of the properties listed on Airbnb are located in middle-class locations, including Kileleshwa, Westlands, Lavington, Kilimani, Yaya, South B, and Valley Arcade.


Just like any other business, a function of supply and demand influences Airbnb’s growth heavily.

In cities where demand for lodging is high, supply is often constrained, causing prices to go up.

In such environments, Airbnb hosts, who generally have greater flexibility and lower operating costs than hotels, are well-positioned to take advantage of spikes in demand.

The hosts are always updated on how Airbnbs are eating into hotel businesses and discretion to rent on any particular day. This gives them the flexibility to respond to changes in demands for accommodation.

Additionally, the venture is convenient and fairly easy due to the availability of self check out option.