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These two Arab countries are the most expensive for Airbnb listings

Thought staying at an Airbnb is a cost-friendly option? Think again.

Staying at an Airbnb might not be that much cheaper than staying in Dubai or Riyadh hotels, as often Airbnb fees come with exorbitant prices that do little to compete with hotel bookings.

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Airbnbs as expensive as hotels? 

Ever since Airbnb entered the mainstream, it has revolutionized how we book accommodation when we travel. The service has been known to offer a cheaper alternative to hotels, which is one of the main reasons it is as popular as it is.

The annual index by Bloomberg, which looks at the average rental price for Airbnbs around the world, shows that this is not the case in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE. The three GCC countries made Bloomberg’s list of the top 15 most expensive countries to rent an Airbnb in, with both the UAE and Saudi in the top 10, at number 5 and 9 respectively. The countries’ cities in question are Dubai and Riyadh, notoriously expensive cities when it comes to renting.

It seems that travelers to these Gulf countries won’t be able to save by opting with the Airbnb route. The average Airbnb costs $185 per day in Dubai, whereas it costs $171 in Saudi. According to the April 2018 MENA Hotel Benchmark Survey Report by Ernst & Young (EY), Dubai’s average room rate (ADR) is $288.

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Shouldn’t hotels see Airbnb as a competitor?

Hadi Moussa, Airbnb’s general manager for the Middle East and Africa, told Hotelier Middle East he doesn’t think that the company is encroaching on the hotel market stake in the cities it operates in and instead is actually helping diversify the tourist offerings.

He said that more than 89% of Airbnb users choose to stay outside the key hotel districts in a given city.

“We see in general that Airbnb brings in diversification in the types of travelers it can bring to a destination. We’ve done a lot of surveys globally to understand to enquire from people using Airbnb. In general, over 90% of the people say they use Airbnb because they want to live like a local. Over 89% actually stay outside the key hotel districts. And 30% of people say that they would not have traveled if it was not for Airbnb. So, we really believe Airbnb is helping diversify the offering and bring in tourists to a destination,” Moussa explained.

The community-based hospitality company currently has 5 million listings globally across 191 countries and 81,000 cities.

Moussa told Hotelier Middle East that Airbnb has its eyes set on growth within the region such as plans to capitalize on the 25+ million visitors expected to visit the UAE for the Expo 2020. It also hopes to establish a strong foothold in Saudi Arabia which the company is looking at as the “next emerging market”, and most importantly, spread the concept of home-sharing.

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