International border closures by the Federal Government are the obvious reason for a for a 50% drop in the number of monthly visits to Airbnb’s Australian website between January and June, 2020, based on data from SimilarWeb.

In January Airbnb.com.au had 8.6 million visits. Numbers fell to to 1.6 million during April before rebounding in May and June, when traffic reached 4.35 million, half the January amount.

In contrast, Australian domestic holiday rental brand Stayz had regained all the traffic it lost through COVID-19 by the end of June.

Stayz started the year with 1.6 million visits during January, fell to an April nadir of just 260,000, before recording 1.6 million visits again in June.

The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from this comparison is that most if not all of Airbnb’s 4 million odd missing visitors were Australians looking for international accommodation.  

It also means that the monthly traffic gap between Airbnb and Stayz, though still a gaping chasm – 4.35 million v. 1.6 million – is the closest it’s been for many many years.

Yet it’s all relative – Airbnb had three times the traffic of Stayz in June.

Airbnb also has much greater user engagement.

Average pages per visit on Airbnb is 35.5, four times greater than Stayz at 8.64, while visit duration comes in at 11.46 minutes compared with 8.38 minutes.

Based on feedback from local short term rental operators, the difference is amplified when it comes to bookings.

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