Sunday, April 8, 2012

AirBNB, Wimdu and Roomorama in SE Asia

Triggered by the news of Roomorama merging with Lofty, and having a lot of time over this Easter break, I took an interest in looking at AirBNB, Roomorama and Wimdu recently to see how they are doing in South-east Asia and which would be best for a traveller to these parts. For those unfamiliar, these companies are all short-term rental platforms - allowing travellers to rent from people who are willing to rent out their rooms or homes. 

Actual traffic and users for each site are not easy to find, but it's relatively straightforward to check out how each of these sites perform from a supply perspective. 


AirBNB leads overall listings in major SEA markets, with ~35% more listings overall to the next site. Besides Malaysia, where they have a clear lead, they're neck for neck versus either Wimdu or Roomorama in most of the major markets (see chart). 
They have a significant lead in user reviews though, implying higher user engagement than the other two sites.


Despite the Roomorama's base in Singapore and its Asia-focus, Roomorama lags AirBNB in terms of inventory in SEA. It does however, lead in the main market of Thailand, and has carved out a strong lead in the niche country of Cambodia. 
The listings aren't always true 'B&B' and tends to feature budget or boutique hotels. This puts Roomorama in competition with the Expedias and of the world. 


I had expected more from Wimdu, given the big push by its parent owner, Rocket Internet into South-east Asia over the past few months. From the job listings on its site, Wimdu seems to be mainly run out of Berlin now and in the region, there is only focus on Singapore, and oddly enough, Philippines, which I can't quite explain. 

In conclusion, I'd probably use AirBNB on my next in-region vacation, but if I were to list a room, I'd list on all three sites as they all seem professionally done up, seem to have sufficient traffic, and have minimal cost differences. Roomorama is the cheapest for hosts - 0%, while the other two charge 3%.