What could Hoteliers learn from AirBnB?
Some useful “tips” in the sharing economy era.
For much of 2008 and 2009, Hotels seemed to be focused on surviving. Then, a new company emerged; one that would go on to disrupt the entire Hospitality industry. That start-up was AirBnB. Now located in over 190 countries, AirBnB has altered the way in which travel shoppers research and book accommodation. Unfortunately, the Hotel industry is feeling the effect.
It’s now more important than ever that Ηoteliers understand why AirBnB is succeeding and how they can adapt their digital brand strategy to compete. From economy inns to upscale luxury resorts and everything in between, Ηotels have to adjust.
Is AirBnB threatening the very existence of hotels, or is it just another competitor with their hand on the hospitality pie? We should all take it easy. Of course, AirBnB is a viable alternative for hotels but NOT a replacement. Nevertheless, Ηotels shouldn’t become complacent. There is a need to adapt to this new terrain as the landscape of the hospitality industry changes. Love it, loathe it, or love to loathe it, AirBnB has employed an innovative business model worth drawing inspiration from. So, what can hotels and hoteliers learn from their competitor?
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Here are 4 things hoteliers can learn and copy from AirBnB:
1. Create personality
AirBnB lives through its online community, tapping into our inherent need as humans to belong. Travel is about creating experiences. So, try to have some fun and build a brand personality that resonates with your guests. Let it inspire everything, from your marketing to the hotel experience. Your guests are looking for experiences that cater to their individual wants and needs. Just think about it; what will set your Hotel apart from the rest?
2. Make guests feel like home
Some guests choose AirBnB because staying at an apartment makes them feel at home. Have a look at the facilities of their apartments and see what they value: access to a kitchen, a living room to relax, a laundry… Hoteliers can offer this too! One idea is to create a new rate including some of these services and see what happens. Do you have business travellers that come to your hotel on a regular basis? Let them be the first ones to test it!
3. User-centered/generated website content
AirBnB’s members contribute all of the website’s content, from the lodgings to the local experience. Therefore, creating a safe space for members to start a conversation, was what allowed AirBnB to offset the stigma of staying in a stranger’s home. So, what if Ηotels utilize user-generated content to build trust prior to purchase? You could include genuine reviews on your website and leverage the guest experience to drive direct bookings. Feedback is so important! It gives you additional insight, while providing your guests with valuable information from a source they feel they can trust.
4. Communication between guest & host
Building relationships with your guests can prove really important! AirBnB facilitates communication between guest and host via in-app messaging. So, what can hotels do? Communicate with your guests before, during, and after their stay! Make your guests welcome by guiding them through the hotel experience. Not only will you improve the overall guest experience, but you will also increase direct bookings and build a loyal relationship with your guests.