Airbnb in Warsaw


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Sha­ring eco­no­my plat­forms are incre­asin­gly popu­lar in Poland. Among the most suc­cess­ful firms based on new busi­ness models is Airbnb, a plat­form for accom­mo­da­tion pro­vi­sion: cur­ren­tly more than 3 mil­lion pri­va­te flats, rooms or other types of accom­mo­da­tion (even castles!) are ava­ila­ble via the servi­ce in 191 coun­tries (Airbnb, 2016). The­se num­bers show that Airbnb beca­me a strong play­er in the tourism indu­stry, with a lar­ger network than tra­di­tio­nal hotel cha­ins.

Kri­stóf Gyó­di, Ana­lyst DELab UW

The Airbnb network in War­saw is main­ly based on the short-term ren­tal of enti­re homes, flats and apart­ments. This may sug­gest that the owners of the­se pro­per­ties opted for Airbnb inste­ad of long-term ren­tal on the housing mar­ket, as the expec­ted inco­me from Airbnb is higher. Fur­ther­mo­re, the majo­ri­ty of Airbnb listings are owned by hosts with mul­ti­ple apart­ments and rooms.

Sup­por­ters of Airbnb and other major ‘sha­ring eco­no­my’ suc­ces­ses argue that such ven­tu­res are bene­fi­ting local com­mu­ni­ties by gene­ra­ting value from unde­ru­sed assets- e.g. by ena­bling to serve touri­sts in a free room in one’s flat. Howe­ver, data in War­saw shows that such situ­ations con­sti­tu­te a mino­ri­ty, as:

  1. 78% of offers are enti­re homes. The­re­fo­re, hosts are not ren­ting free spa­ce in the­ir per­ma­nent resi­den­ce, but pro­vi­ding accom­mo­da­tion in homes that could be poten­tial­ly ren­ted on a long-term basis for locals.
  2. 53% of offers are ‘mul­ti-listings’. This may mean that many pro­fes­sio­nal agen­cies are pre­sent on Airbnb, who pro­vi­de busi­ness-to-con­su­mer servi­ces.
  3. Airbnb listings are heavi­ly con­cen­tra­ted in the city cen­tre, inste­ad of resi­den­tial districts with poten­tial­ly high free spa­ce in pri­va­te flats.

The acti­vi­ty of Airbnb cre­ated a signi­fi­cant regu­la­to­ry chal­len­ge, as pri­va­te indi­vi­du­als are now able to com­pe­te with tra­di­tio­nal accom­mo­da­tion pro­vi­ders. Besi­des the taxing and licen­se rela­ted con­tro­ver­sies, Airbnb may have a nega­ti­ve impact on the housing mar­ket, as it decre­ases the sup­ply of ava­ila­ble flats. Late­ly Ber­lin pas­sed a law requ­iring a spe­cial per­mit for short-term house ren­tals, if more than 50% of property’s spa­ce is ren­ted (Olter­mann, 2016).

What is the sco­pe of the Airbnb network in Poland? As Airbnb is reve­aling only par­tial infor­ma­tion on its acti­vi­ty on a city or coun­try level, the answer is not obvio­us. In order to ana­ly­se the poten­tial impact of Airbnb, the DELab team has pre­pa­red a web-scra­ping tool to col­lect infor­ma­tion on accom­mo­da­tion pro­vi­ded thro­ugh the plat­form. This post pre­sents the first, par­tial results of the pro­ject, focu­sing on War­saw.

The ove­rall num­ber of Airbnb listings is cur­ren­tly 3457 in War­saw: in com­pa­ri­son, the­re are aro­und 100 tra­di­tio­nal accom­mo­da­tion pro­vi­ders (hotels and hostels) on, a popu­lar plat­form aggre­ga­ting hotel offers. The­re­fo­re, Airbnb mana­ged to build a signi­fi­cant user base with a wide varie­ty of over­ni­ght possi­bi­li­ties. How this num­ber com­pa­res with other major Euro­pe­an cities? Accor­ding to a paper by Coy­le and Yeung (2016), Paris had more than 65000 listings, Ber­lin and Bar­ce­lo­na aro­und 25000, whi­le Amster­dam below 20000.

The data shows that the over­whel­ming majo­ri­ty of Airbnb listings (78%) are enti­re homes in War­saw: 2699 enti­re homes, 680 pri­va­te rooms and 78 sha­red rooms are ava­ila­ble on the plat­form. This poten­tial­ly sug­ge­sts that the Airbnb plat­form is used as an alter­na­ti­ve for long-term flat ren­ting in War­saw.

Let us now exa­mi­ne the owner­ship struc­tu­re of the listings. Only 47% of accom­mo­da­tion is pro­vi­ded by hosts with one listing, whi­le 53% of the listings are ‘mul­ti-listings’ (mul­ti­ple listings belong to a sin­gle host). Fur­ther­mo­re, it is not uncom­mon to pro­vi­de 5 or more rooms and apart­ments (27% of all listings). This result sug­gest that not only indi­vi­du­als are hosting guests, but also pro­fes­sio­nal agen­cies use the plat­form.


Final­ly, we pre­sent a map con­ta­ining all listings in War­saw, which shows that they are stron­gly con­cen­tra­ted in the city cen­tre. This is espe­cial­ly true in the case of enti­re homes: the median distan­ce to the cen­tre is under 2 kms, whi­le pri­va­te rooms are more stret­ched across the city (median distan­ce is almost 4 kms). The map sup­ports that Airbnb is pri­ma­ri­ly used by owners with real esta­te in the heart of the city, whi­le they are less fre­qu­ent in outer resi­den­tial districts.

Click on the map!


Red: Enti­re homes; Blue: Sin­gle Rooms; Black: Sha­red Rooms

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