In keeping with the spirit of International Womens’s Day, Airbnb hosted a unique gathering of dynamic women from across industries to prove how they plan an influential role in today’s digital tourism industry. By Mikhail Gomes
International Women’s Day is here. And in keeping with the spirit of #tnlwomenonthego, Airbnb — one of the world’s largest digital travel platforms — celebrated the female entrepreneurial spirit along with a few inspiring stories who have truly made a mark with their own success stories today.
Airbnb hosted a panel discussion with their host & guest community on March 5, 2020 at WeWork, Mumbai, as a part of their #HostWithHer campaign – an ode to women entrepreneurs and the role travel has played in their lives. The session saw accomplished women like actor and entrepreneur Lara Dutta; culinary expert Pooja Dhingra; Executive Director of Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, Shivina Kumari; and Airbnb host Anne Jyrwa come together to discuss their entrepreneurial journeys and how travel has been the leitmotif in more ways than one in all their respective success stories.
For renowned actor and now the creator of beauty brand Arias, Lara Dutta, travel is a way to “build familial bonds.” She further added, “Amidst our busy schedules, family trips enable us to spend time together and reconnect with one another. We enjoy exploring the local culture and off the beaten path destinations.” As a part of the panel for Women’s Day, culinary star and the brain behind La Patissiere, and an avid traveller herself, Pooja Dhingra confessed, “I have always brought back something special from my travels, including the inspiration for my business. Encouraging me to take a step away from the familiar, I have made new friends and experienced new places like a local during my travels.”
Recently Airbnb tied up with the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation as a part of their Social Impact Experiences, in order to create economic empowerment opportunities for rural women in Rajasthan by helping them become Airbnb hosts. Shivina Kumari, Executive Director, PDKF and a part of Airbnb’s #HostWithHer panel discussion, shed more light on the collaboration. “Through our partnership with Airbnb, we have successfully brought financial independence to the foundation and women across Rajasthan. With the Airbnb Social Impact Experience, the foundation women have got the opportunity to share their culture and skills with travellers from across the globe,” she said.
Interestingly, as per statistics shared by Airbnb, there are more women than men in its global community (54 per cent of Airbnb’s Stays hosts and 50 per cent of Airbnb’s Experience hosts globally are women). With Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Jaipur being the top five cities in India with the highest number of women, roughly 34 per cent of all hosts in India are women. They’ve staked up a staggering figure of about INR 100 crore in 2019 itself, with a larger global figure of nearly USD 15 billion.
And the proof lies in the pudding. Airbnb host Anne Jyrwa who has been hosting on the platform since 2016 summed it up pithily: “Being an Airbnb Host has been a fantastic journey. I have had the chance to interact with people from across the globe. Moreover, putting up my Shillong home on Airbnb has not only helped fuel my economic independence, but has also given me a chance to understand how to operate a standalone business entity on my own. Signing up as a host has been a tremendous journey of self-growth for me and I encourage women across the country to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit in any way they can.”