How Airbnb is crushing traditional hotel brands
In April, I wrote one of my first ever articles about Airbnb’s impact on the hotel industy. It started as a response to the?Euromonitor report?highlighting how?littleimpact it was going to have. I fully disagreed. While I did not have the numbers to prove it, I have always known that Airbnb’s impact was going to be HUGE based on the steps they were taking, and the rapidly changing needs of the global traveller.
In the few short months since my first article, Airbnb has released some super cool stats that prove what I have always believed:?they are changing the hospitality business.
- They created $632 million in economic activity just in New York in one year, and they supported 4,580 jobs throughout the five boroughs.
- They have 500,000 properties worldwide.
- They have found accommodation for 9 million guests worldwide (5 million in just the past nine months).
- Over 150,000 guests stay in one of its members’ properties every night.
- They expect to pass InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton Worldwide to become the globe’s largest hotelier next year.
This is big news for the hospitality business and hotel brands specifically. The lodging industry needs to brace itself if it hasn’t already.
So, how are they doing so well so quickly? Here’s how they went from startup to market leader in just 5 years.
Good Reviews?Trump?Brand Loyalty
Over the past few years, I have noticed a very interesting trend: People do not care as much as they used to about hotel brand when they plan their travel. What they care about is a hotel’s location, value, and reviews. Review websites like TripAdvisor have changed the game. Independent hotels that provide exceptional service and value get great reviews on TripAdvisor, and start moving to the top-ranked spots in their cities. This leads to a tremendous increase in brand name searches conducted by travelers who start researching on TripAdvisor and then move to Google search. In the end, this review-driven ecosystem funnels more revenue to hotels that are treating guests well.
To make things worse for hotel brands, Airbnb is spurning an army of independent hoteliers. Brand new entrepreneurs with fresh ideas and energy are surging into the market. All of these new travel entrepreneurs have the three things travelers are looking for ? location, service and value. AND, these entrepreneurs are rated within the Airbnb ecosystem by verified users. This is genius! Why? Because unlike traditional and brand hotels who rely on TripAdvisor, Airbnb closes the loop by allowing its users to trustfully book and review their stay. Transparency is a huge turn-on for today’s travel planner. Coupled with general apathy on the part of the big hotel brands, these moves make Airbnb a darling among smart travellers worldwide.
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