Airbnb investors record jump in bookings, earnings

There is growing interest in Airbnb, which is a relatively new concept in Uganda’s hospitality industry. Photo / Courtesy 

What you need to know:

  • Both income and occupancy rates of Airbnbs have more than doubled in the year to May 

Ugandans with properties listed on the short-term house rental platform Airbnb (AirBed and Breakfast) earned a monthly average of Shs1.034m ($279) in the year to May, signaling the rise of new alternatives in the hospitality sector. 

This, data from vacation rental research company AirDNA indicates was an increase from Shs563,350 ($152) in October 2022, which during the period the occupancy, among such facilities, stood at 16 percent compared to the current rate, which has more than doubled to 43 percent in the six months ending March 2023 due to increased investor travel and spending.

This rate is arrived at by dividing the number of booked days over the previous 12 days by the total number of days available for rent, excluding properties with no reservations.

AirDNA indicated that the increase in rates from the previous year is solely the result of price appreciation and local demand.

In terms of daily income, AirDNA noted that homeowners earned an average of Shs148,250 ($40) per day, especially in Kampala, which has the largest concentration of Airbnbs. 

Kampala is the most active city, hosting at least 3,185 Airbnbs during the period.  

“Average daily rate is the [moderate] booked nightly rate plus cleaning fees for all booked days over the last year,”AirDNA said, adding that: “This revenue figure ... does not include taxes, service fees, or additional guest fees.”

Short-term accommodations such as Airbnbs have transformed the hospitality sector and the way people live when they travel.

As more and more travellers, both for business and leisure, look for distinctive, individualised experiences that cannot be found in hotel rooms, short-term rentals have cropped up, increasing household incomes. 

However, such setups have also come with concerns, among which include security of visitors. 

AirDNA data further revealed that majority of visitors or 66 percent take on the entire rental, while the rest rent just rooms in a home setup. 

“Active rentals are those that had at least bere reserved or available for at least a day in the last month,” AirDNA said. 

Majority of vacation rentals in Uganda are listed on either Airbnb, VRBO, or both. Both are US-based global online marketplaces for short-term home rentals.

AirDNA noted that the number of people renting short-term accommodations had increased by 3 percent in the year to May, noting that majority of visitors had shown affinity to accommodation facilities that have wide kitchen areas, secure parking, internet, and washers.

Other amenities include air conditioning, cable television, heating, pools, and hot tubs.
Areas with active Airbnbs 

Airbnbs have increased due to their flexible cancellation policy in the event that a visitor has other preferences.

The research also noted other locations with active Airbnbs include Nakawa, Makindye, Kawempe, Entebbe, Jinja, Rubaga, Muyenga, and Kapchorwa.