Just over 10 years ago, Airbnb came on the scene and quickly disrupted the traditional hospitality industry. Through thrifty rates, unique locations, and authentic venues, Airbnb has given travelers something more than the average vacation experience. Even though entertainment moguls like Louise Gund can set up events and activities to keep the most adventurous traveler busy, at the end of the day, travelers want comfort and convenience at an affordable rate for their downtime and leisure.
The Airbnb Attraction
Large, corporate hotel chains and the hospitality industry are watching thousands of customers turn to Airbnb locations for overnight trips, weekend stays, or last-minute lodgings. Because the Airbnb service isn’t as regulated as corporate structure, rates are more attractive and can be flexible based on the property host. Everything is usually done digitally, with many locations letting guests check themselves into the room or house with a keylock code. These tiny adjustments have made the Airbnb service a more natural-feeling vacation or business stay.
The Airbnb Availability
Not only do customers enjoy interacting and connecting to properties digitally, but the fact that there is often more availability in prime locations during travel also makes these rentals an attractive choice. During peak vacation seasons, cities like San Francisco, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles experience significant leaps in hotel rates and very limited availability. Airbnb locations offer options that hadn’t existed before, whether you are looking for just a room or a whole house. The downside for Airbnb renters is that there are some cities with very limited services since the demand is so low. Holiday seasons, sports tournaments, summer holidays, and things like college graduation can put a demand on the hospitality industry, and the void that has been left by “no vacancy” signs has been filled with personal rental alternatives.
The Airbnb Competition
For the hospitality industry, Airbnb services are a driving force for change. National and corporate hotel brands need to recognize the long-term problem that alternative rental options present. There is a need for balance with new locations and new rooms yet without overshooting the demand. If they don’t have enough rooms, then Airbnb properties will certainly cut into the profit margins. To address the more homey feeling that consumers are looking for, many hotel chains are redesigning their rooms to include kitchens and modern furnishing. Hotels across different regions, such as Boston and Miami, are adjusting their locations to cater to millennials travelers and provide a non-manufactured experience. Millennial travelers like to be a part of the action and feel the uniqueness that sets a community or space apart from the rest. This authentic experience is what Airbnb locations do best. The competition needs to find a way to reflect the neighborhood and community in order to gain back a foothold in the hospitality industry.
Both Airbnb and corporate hotel chains have realized the importance of selling an experience, rather than selling a product, though it is fair to say that Airbnb has done it best up until this point. It would seem that private rental services are the wave of the future for the hospitality industry, but don’t count out the corporate chains just yet.