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With Airbnb Changing it’s Model, who would fit in the African Ecosystem ?

Rwanda

[ss_click_to_tweet tweet=” For an average host on Airbnb in Africa, they have one way to get paid out, which is Payoneer Prepaid Debit Card, they need to buy a Payoneer card, which gets shipped to them, and they attach it to their Airbnb account. Each time there is a booking” content=” For an average host on Airbnb in Africa, they have one way to get paid out, which is Payoneer Prepaid Debit Card, they need to buy a Payoneer card, which gets shipped to them, and they attach it to their Airbnb account.” style=”default” via=”1″]

When you hear the Story of how Airbnb began, you are completely swept by the ingenuity of the three men: “Airbnb was born in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home and has since grown to 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 1 billion guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe.”

No one knew strangers would welcome strangers into their places, it’s until you see a problem then you find a solution. With this, we start with a statement made by Brian to Techcrunch ”

‘We’re not shipping a new steering wheel. We’re shipping a new car, so to speak. It’s a top-to-bottom upgrade.’ , reading this article two weeks ago, i was baffled by how the man and the team are solution solvers,  taking into consideration when Airbnb came to Kenya: Airbnb was quietly taking root, until Brian Chesky, one of the founders arrived in the country in US President Barack Obama’s delegation. That’s when he created chatter around the concept, which today has 1,400 listings in Kenya available for booking, with 788 of them being concentrated in Nairobi, as at December 2015.

From then till now, it has been growing, now with the announcing of Covid, the business model of  Airbnb changed, with people choosing also to Remote work. Now a great businessman looks at the wheel and Refactors the wheel since reinvention is a model that rarely works in a chance of 1000.  In Africa we need to see this leap, According to the Jumia Tourism report in 2019 Leisure remains an important component of Africa’s tourism industry, taking up a majority of 71% of the tourist expenditure in 2018, and  travel and tourism remain one of the key growth drivers of
the continent’s economy, contributing 8.5% (or $194.2bn) of the GDP in 2018; from 8.1% and 7.8% in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

These are Interesting stats already for any founder to take a keen interest in. Honestly speaking the first time I saw an Ad by Eden life, I spoke to myself saying, this is finally a game-changer will they fight Airbnb accordingly?  Anyway learning later they serve a different model which is a win for them. I took my time studying these Hospitality ecosystems in Africa wanting to find more startups that cover another area other than Fintech you know!

In 2018, the continent received 67 million international tourist arrivals (+7% increase), as compared to 63 million in 2017 and 58 million in 2016. Africa received only 5% share of international arrivals in 2017 with  Morocco and South Africa being the top tourism destinations, with approximately 11 and 10 million arrivals per annum respectively.

Local Startups may have a bigger advantage when it comes to mobile-money payments and listing areas that lack internet connectivity, Clientele marketing, and a couple of other factors that might underlie with the governments.

Now coming back to our Startups, it’s not the first time we have had startup listings like Airbnb in Africa we had Nwanndo, Africabookings, Viatu, and Kumba Africa. Majority of these startups died a natural death during the Covid Phase, however not all, Bongalo a Rwandee startup was founded as a way to book and pay for travel accommodations using mobile money, which is increasingly popular on the continent. In many African countries, getting paid on other major platforms is far from straightforward.

Bongalo which is on the verge of expanding the startup’s reach to Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, and Uganda, has over 6,000 properties in Cameroon and Rwanda, where it has operations and has processed 2,000 transactions. The company says reservations have grown by an average annual rate of 60% over the past three years, a number that jumps to 80% for listings.

According to the founder Nghombombong Minuifuong, “For an average host on Airbnb in Africa, they have one way to get paid out, which is Payoneer Prepaid Debit Card, they need to buy a Payoneer card, which gets shipped to them, and they attach it to their Airbnb account. Each time there is a booking, For an average host on Airbnb in Africa, they have one way to get paid out, which is Payoneer Prepaid Debit Card, they need to buy a Payoneer card, which gets shipped to them, and they attach it to their Airbnb account.

Each time there is a booking., they get a deposit on that card and they need to go to an ATM, slot the card, and withdraw the money in local currency, which gets exchanged in the foreign currency. They pay at least three fees to get their money—exchange fee, card fee, and Airbnb charge. That’s part of what we are trying to stop.”

Bongalo in 2020 pegged its valuation at around $2 million. However, All over the world, technology platforms are advancing how people pursue travel and hospitality. But Africa still has limited infrastructure problems, including inadequate electricity supply and shaky internet connectivity. Additional challenges include a lack of skilled hospitality personnel, and difficulty attracting and retaining workers: The platform allows for secure transactions that avoid multiple fees using mobile money wallets and USSD confirmation codes. Minuifuong calls it “Africa’s Airbnb.”

Eden Life raises $1.4M seed to provide home services to busy Africans

This is a Game Changer, knowing that Bongalo -“Africa’s Airbnb.”  supports mobile money payments in Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. And I think we need to cut the Narrative of Re-Branding them, yes they are ours but good Lord, you are not them.

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