Older travellers and those with higher incomes are becoming increasingly attracted to staying in accommodation alongside their hosts.
Hosted accommodation site Homestay.com – whose USP is that the host is always present – commissioned a report that reveals a global rise in the use of ‘shared space accommodation’.
The Global State of Shared Space report, from travel industry research authority Phocuswright, considers the size and opportunity of the sector as well as identifying key trends among travellers who use such accommodation.
The report is based on a consumer survey of more than 8,000 travellers across eight major travel markets as well as a series of interviews with industry experts and companies involved in the sector.
Key findings include that nearly one in ten online travellers in the UK and US – and more in Europe, Australia and key developing markets – rented a shared space in a private home in 2014.
Another finding was that although shared space accommodation is widely perceived to cater primarily to younger people, those aged under 35 accounted for 15% of the shared space rental market. A total of 22% of shared space renters are aged over 55.
The report also revealed that while homestays initially attracted travellers on a lower budget, nearly half of all shared space renters surveyed in the US and UK had an annual household income of more than £50,000.
The final key finding was that many travellers choose shared space rentals because they want a culturally immersive travel experience that may include meeting the locals, language practice or authentic, personal encounter with the hosts’ culture.
Alan Clarke, Homestay.com chief executive, said: “Homestay.com’s success has been fuelled by the growing consumer demand across all ages for a type of travel experience that promotes interaction and authenticity.
“By exclusively offering hosted accommodation, we are ensuring the guest receives the culturally immersive experience they are seeking. Now the shared space sector has gained a foothold in the global travel market, it’s time to kick on.
“To achieve this we must work harder on facilitating both the trust and level of engagement that our community – the host and guest – expect.”