Covid-19 has made the French countryside attractive again. Airbnb has thus decided to strengthen its presence in rural areas and improve its performance seriously hit by the current pandemic crisis.
The platform, which has just signed a partnership with the Association of Rural Mayors of France (AMRF), wants to develop 15,000 new accommodations in the French countryside by the end of 2021. Currently, Airbnb records about 50,000 listings in rural communities, out of a total of 700,000 for France. That is, a little over 7%. But, between 2012 and 2017, their number was multiplied by 37. "The revenge of the countryside last summer continues,” confirms Emmanuel Marill, the CEO of Airbnb France, quoted by Le Parisien-Aujourd'hui-en-France. “Tomorrow, the small village of 300 inhabitants that is neither in the mountains nor on the coast, but has charm, history and a terroir, will have hosts who will offer their farm or their mill."
450 Million in Rental Income in One Year
To attract municipalities, Airbnb has committed to pay them 100 euros for each new ad published in a rural area. These sums will go into a fund, "Campagnes d'Avenir", run by the AMRF, which will be used to finance the tourist development of rural communes. "We have insisted that Airbnb provides quality and that no private individual can rent out just anything," says Michel Fournier, president of the AMRF.
To this end, Airbnb and the association have planned to launch an online training program, Rural Bootcamp, to help new hosts propose a quality offer. This is the case of Sébastien who lives in La Chapelle-Saint-Rémy, a small village of 900 inhabitants in the Sarthe region, and has accommodated Australians, Argentinians and Chinese. "I rent about 150 nights a year," he says, for 45 euros a night. Since the beginning of the pandemic, these rural hosts, registered on Airbnb, have earned 450 million euros in rental income.