The traditional RFP season is almost upon us and whilst contracting can happen at any time, we are all used to the manic few weeks that is ‘RFP season’.
There have, as you all know, been a lot of articles (including my own) written over the past few weeks about how the traditional negotiated corporate rate as we know it, may well be coming to an end. As an industry, we have a lot to consider: contracted rates in the public domain; corporates moving to dynamic rack; more and more aggressive OTA’s; a shift in buying behaviour of our long-established contracted corporates, but what about that ‘not-so-sleeping’ giant, AirBnb? Are we ready for the move our corporates are making from hotels to Airbnb? This is happening and will continue to happen and just in case you aren’t convinced, let me share an infographic sent to me this week, which I think makes interesting viewing
If you can get passed the 1,400,000 swipes that Tinder receives every minute (honestly, what is happening in the world!), you will see that AirBnb is receiving a whopping 1389 bookings every minute! Now if you take into consideration that Booking.com claim 1,550,000 bookings per day, this then equates to 1076 per minute, so easily out-performed by AirBnb!
Last week, AirBnb announced a new flexible platform to entice business travellers, AirBnb Work. In a nutshell, this will allow business travellers to customise their searches for work-related stays and show positive ratings just for business guests. Their new ‘work trip’ toggle will only improve and if we add this to the 6 million listings in 100,000 cities, I don’t think that Airbnb is about to back-off from wanting more of our ‘corporate pie’.
AirBnB also recently bought Hotel Tonight (yes, it is official), and that may be about to throw open more cans and more worms than we can even contemplate!
So, is there any good news? How on earth do we combat such a well-oiled machine? Well, let’s turn our attention to the Global Business Traveller Association, Travel Sentiment Index. Crazy? Nope! If you dig into their findings you will see that hotels do have a chance to win back business but to do that we have to go back to the first rule of business – understand what problems your market has and then solve them.
The findings are interesting and top of all business travellers’ needs is strong and consistent Wifi. If you haven’t got great, free, instant access to Wifi, without the need for a password or data harvesting, then please sort it out. Your guests need and deserve great Wifi in all of your rooms and public areas, so upgrade now if you are in any doubt.
Next on the list, is that business travellers want a hassle-free booking from start to finish. Have you ever made a booking on AirBnb? I have and it’s amazing. Their website and booking process is so easy to navigate; the images, content and maps are all perfectly placed. In short, it is simple, straight-forward and instills trust from the second you hit their website. If you aren’t making your booking process that easy, then now is the time to review.
Travellers now want or should I say, demand an experience, not just a booking, so 83% said health and well-being are a priority. Would you consider yoga mats? If you don’t have a gym or a relationship with one close by, would you consider some exercise equipment guests can use in their room? It really isn’t too difficult to tick that box.
Breakfast is key and again it needs to be healthy and nutritional and surprise, surprise, you better serve great coffee! Healthy eating came high on everyone’s list with 33% saying that this is a deciding factor when choosing where to stay. 77% would like water in the room and 71% asked for air purifiers!
But top of the list came a good nights sleep. Do you have great beds? comfy mattresses and snuggly duvets? Again, for a small investment, you can make great returns.
I leave you with one more fun infographic which shows what would bother a guest most.
Some are hilarious and I love the mis-spelling but do you have spare phone and laptop charges? Do you offer a safe, quiet and private environment for your guests? All of these services are what make us unique. Listen to what your guests are telling you and then act. Honestly, there is nothing on the list that you can’t do, so why don’t we act on what makes us unique?
AirBnB is getting stronger, more aggressive and they are coming for our corporates. This time next year the demise of contracted rates may be the least of your problems… But we have a chance to step-up, after all, we know this market WAY better than they do, so let’s try and stay one step ahead…