The new Airbnb TV ads should strike terror in your heart, especially if you manage or own a resort. That is where I see the main – and growing – threat from sharing economy accommodations players such as Homeaway and Airbnb. And my advice to hoteliers is blunt: start now to prepare for battle because it is going to get bloody.
The Airbnb ads hit an emotional high note: Don’t go there, live there – and what vacationer does not want to feel that he/she spent a week living in Paris or Manhattan or even Santa Fe?
Implicit in the campaign is the spin that somehow hotels encroach upon their community and are fundamentally alien to it.
I have heard – frighteningly often – from senior resort executives that the sharing economy is no threat to them. Threatened, they say, are city hotels that cater to business travelers who, increasingly, are Millennials and, according to these execs, it’s Millennials who want to use Airbnb et. al.
What nonsense and yet they believe it,
Recent research out of the UK found that only 2% of business travelers expressed an interest in Airbnb-type lodgings. No surprise. Business travelers want predictable, reliable lodgings and almost, by definition, that means chain hotels. So also no surprise that this same survey found that only 21% would choose an independent hotel.
But for a vacationer – especially one spending multiple days, perhaps a week – Airbnb et al. can offer compelling attractions that put them right in the midst of where they want to be, from Vail to Paradise Valley.
But “living there” is just the start of the Airbnb benefits.
There also is space. Squeezing a family into a typical hotel room is plain uncomfortable. Often for just a couple too. Upgrading to a suite at a resort is expensive.