Enter Airbnb, the Silicon Valley startup that allows people to list their spare rooms or their entire homes for leases online. More often than not, these rentals allow travelers to book a room or house for far less than what hotels, and even hostels, price them at. It's also a nice perk for homeowners who can earn a little extra cash from renting out rooms.
So, how big of a threat does Airbnb, and other websites similar to it, have on the hotel industry? According to reports, particularly one from hotel consulting company HVS, hotel executives aren't all that concerned...but maybe they should be. The common belief about Airbnb properties is that they aren't the highest quality, they are inconsistent and they don't have all the amenities that a hotel offers.
|Airbnb listing for New York City/ Airbnb|
It's not just the cost or size that should be a cause for concern for hotels. People are looking for a true local experience, and Airbnb offers just that. Hotels have made great efforts to add local flair to their properties, customizing each one to fit in the city it is located. But it's just not the same, there's still a sense of detachment from the city, still a feel of being a tourist. Travelers are interested in experiential trips and want to be immersed in a city's culture. Hotels can offer that to a certain extent, but renting out properties encourages people to explore the area on their own, rather than stick with what a hotel concierge suggests.
Bottom line, Airbnb and other alternative accommodations have a certain je ne sais quoi quality about them that's very appealing to travelers these days. According to the HVS study, hotels need to have "awareness of the increasing quality, availability, and economy of lodging options offered through Airbnb." This industry isn't slowing down, and its market share will continue to grow as more people seek out unique travel experiences.
Thanks to Skift.com for featuring the HVS study on their website!