Airbnb helps Barcelona boutique hotel boost occupancy in the slow season


  • 60-room boutique hotel

  • 2018: year listed on Airbnb

  • Key benefit: Spike in bookings during low season

  • Other benefit: “Live as a native” ethos appeals to Airbnb’s guests


The owners of the Yurbban Passage Hotel pride themselves on running one of the most unique hotels in Barcelona, but until recently, they’d relied largely on the typical online channels to rent their rooms. Then, this past winter, they heard that Airbnb had begun welcoming more boutique hotels on its platform. Hoping to benefit from Airbnb’s tremendous reach, they decided to give it a try.

The 60-room Yurbban Passage was doing well, but they were looking for a boost in the slower winter months, when the number visitors to Spain’s second-largest city slows to a trickle. They decided to list its seven different types of rooms on Airbnb. And it turned out to be a perfect match.

We never thought that it would be such an important business as it is now for us, because in the last three months, we had a lot of reservations,” says Marc, the Yurbban’s front-office manager. “In the low season, we have seen that sales were increasing a lot.”

For now, Airbnb represents only a small percentage of the Yurbban’s overall bookings, but they’ve helped to carry Yurbban through that slow winter season. A single group reservation from Airbnb added more than 15,000 Euros to its bottom-line in January of 2019.

Airbnb’s reach and ubiquity have helped increase bookings. But Yurbban has also benefited from its “Live as a Native” ethos, which dovetails with the kind of authentic experience sought by many Airbnb guests.

“We can track all the reservations, have direct communication with the guests, and edit the listings. And we can check our performance within the market.”

Idoya, Revenue Manager of Yurbban Passage Hotel

The Yurbban Passage is literally bisected by a passage used by merchants, neighbors and visitors. That public space is a metaphor for the way the owners — who also run another boutique hotel, the Yurbban Trafalgar, on the same block — pride themselves on curating an authentic Barcelona experience for their guests, right down to the Catalan breakfast they serve and the local artists and designers featured in the hotel shop.

Yurbban’s reviews on Airbnb are a testament to the alignment between the two brands: Every one of them came back with five stars. “Not only is the place itself amazing, but they offer the best tips on where to eat, what to see and how to spend the most amazing time in Barcelona,” one Airbnb guest wrote.

Yurbban Passage Hotel staff: Norma, Marc, and Xavi.

Yurbban’s manager, Norma, says the feeling is mutual. She describes the guests that came through Airbnb as “really easygoing, kind people.” She adds: “They’re like guests in your apartment.”

The Yurbban’s revenue team was able to connect to Airbnb seamlessly through an existing integration with their hotel management software. “We can track all the reservations, have direct communication with the guests, and edit the listings,” says Idoya, the hotel’s revenue manager. “And we can check our performance within the market.”

The Yurbban Passage hopes to continue expanding its presence on Airbnb through the summer months. While Marc has been primarily responsible for managing their Airbnb listings, it’s become something of a team effort among the staff to greet guests and make trip recommendations. In the near future, they’re seeking to designate a staffer at each of their properties who will focus on optimizing the experience of Airbnb guests.

“I think what’s made the difference is the personalized service we have,” Marc says. “We treat people as if we were hosts, the same way we would as if it was our home. We make recommendations that will show them a true local experience. And this is what Airbnb guests look for, so we’re really happy with the results.”


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