It is nearly impossible to open a business magazine these days and not see a glowing story about how Airbnb is shaking up the travel industry. The company is leading the new peer-to-peer services sector with more than 350,000 properties and is valued at $10 billion.
And now the company recently announced that it is offering last-minute booking in San Francisco and Los Angeles – clearly another shot across the bow at the hotel industry.
But just what does this category-shaker of a company mean for major hotel brands?
Larger hoteliers will now have to move away from being commoditized to win the war of capturing the millennials’ market and much more. Here’s how:
- Cool Lobbies: Major hotel brands should consider making their lobbies a true social destination for millennials. This includes offering the right food, beverage, atmosphere, as well as charging stations for mobile devices.
- End-to-End Mobile Presence: From booking to checkout, hoteliers should seek new and innovative ways for connecting with millennials in a mobile environment.
- Appease the Anonymous Traveler: One of the benefits of Airbnb is that travelers can remain completely anonymous without interacting with the property owners. There’s a growing segment of travelers who like to remain completely under the radar, which means creating contact-less check-in where guests never need to interact with hotel staff.
- Break Down Silos: Airbnb has a very simple offering: connecting travelers with rental properties, while offering a revenue stream for property owners. The company does not have a complex internal structure where internal silos create barriers to embracing innovation. Major hotel brands could take a page from this simplified structure, which will allow them to be more nimble and provide new innovations at the “speed of life.”
While Airbnb is not causing the sky to fall, hotel brands should consider ways to help combat the revenue losses that could come about from travelers embracing this new peer-to-peer revolution.
By remaining hip, focusing on mobility and more, it is possible to remain competitive, and create true differentiation from other hotel brands at the same time.