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What Can AirBnB Teach the Traditional Hotel Business?

There is much discussion among traditional hoteliers about AirBNB’s current and future effect on the hotel business. AirBNB as a “disruptive” business is creating buzz - discussion and frankly, some fear.. There is no doubt AirBNB will detract from hotel revenues as the initial impact is already and will continue to be felt.

So what are hoteliers to do? Fear? Ignore? Embrace or… Learn?!!!

Why would hotel guests defect to an AirBNB? Price, location, availability or is it something else. We can all agree that it is not for the wealth of amenities that somebody’s extra bedroom offers. So far, most AirBNBs don’t have pools, fitness centers, Michelin star restaurants, mini bars, pay per view movies, laundry service or the ever-increasing list of amenities that the hotel business has added over the years to satisfy the guests’ demands and keep up with the competition.

But here comes an entity that will rent out a basement in someone’s house and a potentially traditional hotel guest is staying there and foregoing the “niceties” of a hair dryer and a logoed robe.

So why??

My theory is that there is a backlash against traditional hotel entities and the impersonal aspects created by cookie-cutter hotel companies trying to attract and retain guests while forgetting the essence of hospitality; a personal connection and unique, local experiences. I believe that the AirBNB thing is an extension of the shift towards “experiential’ travel.

A stay in a local’s home allows for a truly unique and flavorful experience, far removed from the standard and accepted model of hotels today. There has to be a feeling created by a stay in a private residence that circumvents the need for hotel fluff.

Hotels can benefit from the idea that creating an experience for guests is the primary focus and concern and not adding to the list of amenities offered or the quality of the linens. Don’t get me wrong, these are important for the guest experience and AirBNBers will likely adapt to add more of these traditional standards as time passes, however hotels could embrace the message that guests are sending by staying at AirBNBs; “give me something unique and interesting to enhance my travel experience and get me away from standardization and boxed amenity platforms.”

Norbert Mede helps hotels and resorts keep up with the ever-changing hospitality industry. Contact us for a site visit to see where we can give your business an edge over your competitors.

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