Is it too late to fight back against Airbnb?
Despite what many have dismissed as a mere blip on the radar, Airbnb is a force to be reckoned with, and we have yet to see just how widely it will impact our livelihoods.
But before we discuss this disruptive company and its effects on the hospitality industry, let’s look to Uber. The vehicle for hire industry underestimated Uber by not adapting to the new paradigm of internet and mobile-based transactions, and my fear is that we are making the same mistake with Airbnb.
It is not only a hotel service for backpackers or those looking for esoteric accommodation experiences. Not anymore at least. As new listings come online, the doors are opening for more and more key population groups to find something they want on its website, even in areas previously deemed ‘off limits’ like traveling for business or the ultra-luxury market.
Airbnb is now a household name, but it is only just starting to supplant its ‘millennials only’ image. Along with the bargain hotel prices provided by the OTAs, this online service has increased the worldwide demand for travel by making it more accessible. Soon, though, it will target all the same consumer types that we depend on to stay in business. And it may already be too late to stop it!
Airbnb’s website beats any hotel
You love your website, and you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on it. But, frankly, it pales in comparison to Airbnb’s web venture. Not only does it have a booking engine that shows you all upfront costs, but it also fluidly integrates comments from its own user data. The commentary and description of the rooms being sold reads like a storybook written by people who truly care. They are not selling; they are trying to make your travel more interesting. Moreover, the presentation is seamless on mobile, tablet or a laptop computer.
Social media was meant for Airbnb, or is it the other way around? When you are contemplating booking a room, you don’t research your options through some third-party gateway such as TripAdvisor, but directly with members of the Airbnb community – both the users and the purveyors of the product. This provides a level of confidence in the buying decision that is very difficult to match. The site even reports on how long it took for the buyer to post the rating. Confidence is assured.