airbnb Comparisons

Introduction:

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airbnb is a company whose online platform facilitates the letting of rooms or properties for lodging as vacation rentals or for tourism. Based in San Francisco, California, its platform is available as either a web page or a Mobile App.

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In addition to the official platform there are also open source providers such as insideairbnb.com who provide data about these lettings, such as how much they cost and how often are they reviewed, the latter being a measure of how often the properties are let.

According to its website it also looks to serve as …

… an independent, non-commercial set of tools and data that allows you to explore how Airbnb is really being used in cities around the world.

By analyzing publicly available information about a city’s Airbnb’s listings, Inside Airbnb provides filters and key metrics so you can see how Airbnb is being used to compete with the residential housing market. (source insideairbnb.com)

Using the data to answer Business Relevant Questions:

For this project, I was interested in using the latest available AirBnB data for the cities of Boston and Seattle from insideairbnb.com to better understand:

  1. How much does one person have to pay for the entire apartment, private room, and shared room in each community?
  2. Does advertising the accessibility of the property (i.e. is there Parking, vicinity to public transportation or the airport) relate to number of ratings or price?
  3. How do prices and reviews per month compare between the cities of Boston and Seattle in general?

Answering Question 1:

How much does one person have to pay for the entire apartment, private room, and shared room in each community?

This diagram shows the average prices for different room types as well as the mean price for the 25 Neighbourhoods listed in the data for Boston.

It shows that on the whole Private rooms cost less than Entire homes/apartments, although in some neighbourhoods such as South End, West End, Downtown and West Roxbury they are the same, or in the case of Longwood Medical Area they even more.

The ranking of mean price for neighbourhoods follows the ranking of the Entire homes/apartments categories, but because of the four districts where the prices are the same for both categories, together Longwood Medical whose private rooms cost more, this ranking does not hold for private rooms.

In comparison here is the same diagram for different room types as well as the mean price for the 17 Neighbourhood Groups listed in the data for Seattle.

Again Private rooms tend to cost less than Entire homes/apartments, although in some neighbourhoods they are the same.
The ranking of mean price also follows the ranking of the Entire homes/apartments categories, but because of the two districts University and Ballard where the prices are the same for both categories, together with Cascade and Magnolia whose private rooms also buck the trend, this ranking does not hold for private rooms in Seattle either.

Answering Question 2:

Does advertising the accessibility of the property (i.e. is there Parking, vicinity to public transportation or the airport) relate to number of ratings or price?

Comparison of Boston Prices, comparing entries with and with out listings advertising Proximity to Airport, Transit or Parking

With these two box plots, which describe the distribution of Prices in terms of Median and Quartiles, it can be seen that in Boston, prices slightly lower for those properties with a listing showing proximity to either public Transport, parking or the airport, with medians of 96 and 134 for listings with and without respectively.

Comparison of Boston Review Rates, comparing entries with and with out listings advertising Proximity to Airport, Transit or Parking

In the case of review rates however the trend is reversed, with properties that include the listing enjoying a significantly higher rate of review than those that don’t, with medians of 0.62 reviews per month compared with 0.23 reviews per month respectively. That is 3 times as many reviews for properties with a listing.

Comparison of Seatle Prices, comparing entries with and with out listings advertising Proximity to Airport, Transit or Parking

Looking now at Seattle, the results concerning price trend in the opposite direction. Those with a proximity listing enjoy a median of 115, those with out 107 .

Comparison of Seattle Review Rates, comparing entries with and with out listings advertising Proximity to Airport, Transit or Parking

Its a similar picture for the review rate, with the properties listing proximity to the Transit systems, parking or the airport enjoying a median of 1.93 reviews per month compared to 0.91. That’s over twice as many.

Although it could be argued that the higher review rate in Boston could be down to the fact the Properties are cheaper and therefore more attractive, the same cannot be said for Seattle where the data shows that a slightly higher percentage of entries with these listing have higher prices than those that don’t.

Whilst not very many advertise these access factors (15% in Boston and 6% in Seattle), they receive 2 to 3 time the number of reviews as those who don’t list.

This would support the suggestion that in fact listing this information with the entry does have a benefit for the letter. After all the traveler needs to know if the address is accessible.

Answering Question 3:

How do prices and reviews per month compare between the cities of Boston and Seattle in general?

Prices and Reviews per Month in Boston
Prices and Reviews per Month in Seattle

Looking at these two diagrams, it would appear that although Boston is typically slightly cheaper, with most prices between $50 and $130, its addresses enjoy review rates of just under 2 per month, compared to Seattle with just over 2 per month and a price range of around $75 to $152.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Although it would be possible to analyses the data further to gain additional insights, these results provide a couple important indications:

  1. If you as a guest are looking to rent a private room in either of these cities make sure that you are not short changing yourself renting a room when you could have a whole apartment for the same price!
  2. If you are a landlord you might want to consider listing the vicinity of the property to the nearest Public Transport, the Airport or Parking facilities. Adding such information doesn’t take much, but the indications are the response rate is higher. After all your guests have get there some how.
  3. As to whether you chose Seattle or Boston, well the data makes no clear suggestion, perhaps you should decide based on whether you like to watch the sun rise over the ocean or watch it set over the ocean!

In any case… Enjoy your next trip wherever that may be…..

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Richard Needham

Richard Needham

Data Analyst in the Automotive Industry, focusing on Product Quality