For any airline concerned about keeping control of their relationships with their customers and leveraging digital channels to boost ancillary revenues, the launch of Airbnb’s “Trips” should serve as a wake-up call.
Back in September, FTE reported on the launch of Google Trips and the impact it could have on airlines’ attempts to take ownership of the digital relationship with the traveller.
Now Airbnb, the peer-to-peer homesharing platform that celebrated its 100 millionth guest earlier this year, is branching out and is making no secret of its desire to take control of the end-to-end customer relationship.
With Airbnb Trips, the company is moving beyond accommodation and extending its reach to other key areas of the travel process. Initially, the focus will be on Experiences, Places and Homes, but the longer term strategy also extends to Flights and Services.
In the launch material around Trips, Airbnb states: “Booking travel today can be complicated and stressful. With Trips, Airbnb aims to make it easy with one app to book most of your travel needs.”
Basically, Airbnb is aiming to make life easier for leisure travellers by removing the need for them to visit airline, hotel, metasearch, OTA and/or review-based websites. Its desire is to allow travellers to search and book flights, book accommodation, and preview and book destination activities without leaving the Airbnb platform.
Like many airlines, Airbnb is also making a play in the artificial intelligence and machine learning space in order to help achieve its goal of personalising the travel experience and boosting revenues.
The company states: “Trip Itinerary is a new feature that brings together everything the traveller needs to know into one simple timeline, with the ability to easily book and add experiences or things to do. Over time, this capability will evolve based on machine learning to dynamically suggest personalised and contextual, i.e. based on location, recommendations during a trip. Airbnb’s vision is to ultimately cater for every aspect of a trip…”