Charging ahead towards International Women’s Day, Airbnb held a panel discussion on March 1, 2023 celebrating women who host and travel on the vacation rental platform. The celebrations were fuelled by an engaging conversation on embracing equity, featuring actor and author Soha Ali Khan, singer and songwriter Lisa Mishra, entrepreneur Kirti Poonia, and Airbnb Host Kakoli.
Airbnb has always encouraged women who host on the platform. With more than half of the global Airbnb Host community comprising of women Hosts*, these powerhouses are pillars to their local communities as they embody roles employing other women, catalysing economic activity and contributing to regrowth. Ahead of International Women’s Day this year, the platform has once again put the spotlight on these entrepreneurial ladies with a conversation that discussed all things around ‘Embracing Equity’, this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, at Kathiwada City House, Mumbai on March 1, 2023.
The celebrations saw like-minded females spearhead the panel discussion for Airbnb. This includes actor and author Soha Ali Khan; singer-songwriter Lisa Mishra; entrepreneur and co-founder of Relove, Kirti Poonia; and Airbnb Host Kakoli. Apart from spotlighting the importance of gender equity, the discussions also recognised the societal, economic, cultural, and intellectual contributions made by women in their respective fields.
Speaking about the panel discussion, Khan says, “I feel ecstatic to see a shift in the needle with regards to women empowerment, especially in India. But [I still feel] that we have a long way to go. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day resonates with me, as I am a firm believer and propagator of gender equity. I applaud Airbnb’s efforts in helping women in the hospitality industry embrace equity and take on roles that truly make them happy, whilst working towards an independent future.”
Mishra adds, “Travel has always been a passion of mine, and as an artist, I believe it’s the best way to seek inspiration. Through my travels with Airbnb, I have had the opportunity to visit some truly striking destinations, each one leaving a unique impression on me. But what really warms my heart is the chance to interact with some wonderful women along the way — some that are avid travellers like me, and others [who] are building a new life by hosting on Airbnb and are embarking on their entrepreneurial journey. It’s inspiring to see women embracing equity and carving out a path to their independence.”
Airbnb Celebrates Women Who Host
According to Airbnb internal data that measures the percentage of hosts who self-reported themselves as women, more than half of the global Airbnb Host community comprises of women as of December 31, 2022. Airbnb host Kakoli is one shining example of the same. Being a novice in the world of hospitality, the resilient entrepreneur says, “[I didn’t know anything] about the intricacies of running a business. Airbnb […] made it easy for me to start.” Today, Kakoli has multiple listings across Delhi NCR and Puducherry on Airbnb!
In fact, women who host on Airbnb in India — a majority of which are in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Delhi and West Bengal — have cumulatively earned over INR 1 billion in 2022, states the vacation rental company’s internal data from January 1 to December 31, 2022. Additionally, the same year also saw women hosts aged above 60 years earning more than INR 200 million in India.
Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager – Airbnb India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan states, “At Airbnb, we are deeply committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within our host and guest communities. We recognise the unique value that women Hosts bring to our platform, adding a diverse perspective and energy that enhances the overall Airbnb experience for our guests.”
Notably, Airbnb promotes connections among the diverse community of Hosts, all while facilitating an inclusive environment that fosters growth and success. Today, like Kakoli, many women who host on Airbnb serve as pillars of local communities by doubling as job-generating microentrepreneurs, including some in marginalised communities. Many also catalyse economic activity and contribute to regrowth.
Bajaj says, “We strongly believe that women entrepreneurs are crucial drivers of economic growth, job creation, and social transformation. To support women hosts, we work closely with communities of women around the world, helping them unlock the potential of their homes and providing them with the necessary resources and knowledge to succeed as entrepreneurs. We are committed to fostering an environment of respect and inclusivity for all, and we are continuously working to strengthen our efforts to create a more diverse and equitable host community.”
Kakoli weighs in, “I’ve had the pleasure of hosting guests from across the world, and have also had the opportunity to hire more staff that helps me maintain and provide the ‘Superhost’ experience that my guests enjoy. Airbnb has enabled me, and many more such women, gain financial independence over the years, and establish a successful entrepreneurial venture.”
Poonia relates. She says, “I’ve been fortunate to witness the inspiring entrepreneurial spirit of women through my journey of transitioning from a traditional management career to one in entrepreneurship and fashion. I have come across a lot of strong women who not only focus on their own growth but also nurture the growth of those around them. As an avid Airbnb user, I have witnessed this same entrepreneurial spirit amongst several women who have had the chance to become Airbnb Hosts and are empowering the community around them. I am extremely happy to be here celebrating the stories of such remarkable women who continue to embody women empowerment.”
*Based on Airbnb internal data measuring percentage of women hosts (hosts who self reported themselves as women), as of December 31, 2022.
Related: 5 Airbnb Women Hosts Who Inspire And Truly Break The Bias Everyday!