Airbnb has transformed travel and the travel experience. And this transformation has become a real challenge for many Hotels today.
Airbnb, one of the biggest successes of the sharing economy, is now drawing more traffic than any other hotel brand or metasearch site. In Q1 2017, Airbnb drew 106.9 million visits to its site, an increase of 31% from 2016 (source: eMarketer).
A quick look at the Airbnb business model
While Hotels focus their strategy on owning resources (ie. rooms) and maximizing their occupancy rates, Airbnb focuses on managing the marketplace.
Source: Business Model Toolbox
The joy is in the Community
The future of travel is not about looking ahead but within, and finding a way to connect travelers with the community.
Airbnb primary focus is to build a transparent community. Airbnb will provide cities with the information they need to make informed decisions about home sharing policies. While protecting our hosts’ and guests’ privacy, Airbnb will provide anonymized information regarding hosts and guests in our community to city officials to help inform the development of home sharing policies.
Airbnb has a community forum for hosts to make sure that everyone has a place where they belong.
Airbnb and the Generation Experience
Research done by Airbnb show that most Millennials would prioritize travel over buying a home or paying off debt. This highlights the importance Millennials place on travel, and how they are looking to build their own adventures through unique experiences.
We know that millennial travelers bring at least three smart devices with them on their journey. They rely on technology during all stages of the decision process, including research and booking.
Research has shown that 70% of travelers agree a Hotel’s website, app and other digital tools impact their booking decision and 50% of Google Hotel ads come from smartphones this number is growing 2.4x per year!
It is important to understand that Millennials want to build their own itineraries and create their own adventures which are local and authentic.
Creating blue ocean hospitality
Airbnb has utilized blue ocean strategies to eliminate travel barriers. They reduced traditional in-room amenities that we are accustomed to at Hotels.
Their focus has been on the community, local and cultural tourism.
Hotels should start model Airbnb strategies
Data show that currently people are more likely to choose Hotels for short-term stays and their preference is efficiency and service.
The longer the stay, the more conscientiousness around price, the desire to be localized, the more leisure oriented, the more likely they are to use Airbnb.
Chip Conley has described Airbnb as a bigger and newer digital version of Boutique Hotels.
Young people are “Airbnb native” in the same way they are “digital native”; for many in this group, staying in a chain hotel room is as foreign as talking on a landline, walking into a bank branch, or watching a television show at the actual time it airs.
Airbnb has educated an entire generation.
Hotels have an abundance of resources to start building their own communities, and then start educating them about their own alternatives. And it is also ok to look for new creative ways to collaborate with Airbnb.
The customer experience is what turns the consumer into loyal customers. Once Airbnb has sold the consumer one experience they keep providing them with similar alternative experiences.
The Hotel Content Funnel – a dynamic process
I work on content strategies that support The Hotel Content Funnel. This is an ongoing dynamic process where data, information, and innovation will reach the relevant consumers for a given Hotel.
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