While many major hotel brands are trying to combat the rise of sharing economy leaders like AirBNB, one hotelier is actually embracing it.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation has made an investment in Onefinestay – a provider of high-end home rentals in New York City, London, Los Angeles and Paris — as part of a nearly $40-million fundraising round completed at the end of 2014.
The global hotel brand has not fully disclosed how the investment will help it get a leg up in the new sharing economy arena. However, during a recent earnings call President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian said that the investment will offer a “learning opportunity.”
“We’ve always been drawn towards it, not sort of away from it, because we feel like we need to learn from what we’re seeing evolve in the market and how consumers think and how they behave,” said Hoplamazian, in this Hotel News Now article.
This learning opportunity – by investing outside of the core business – will allow the brand to gain insights into the stay-cycle of sharing economy guests. In addition, the brand will be able to learn more about affluent guests, and perhaps leverage data that will help them in developing high-end concierge apps and services.
In July 2014, Hyatt announced that it entered into a pilot program with Onefinestay, where it lets house renters freshen up at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill if they arrive early for their rental.
This is an interesting strategy that lets these types of guests to experience both the hotel’s amenities while also creating loyalty – in a situation where guests would not think twice about the hotel brand.
By taking this approach, Hyatt is going to achieve a leg up on the competition. Rather than fighting an emerging threat – or denying that it exists – the hotel brand has some “skin in the game,” and could potentially prosper in the long run.
Gaining market knowledge and insights on “sharing economy” guest preferences could be translated into the development of new programs that could greatly benefit guests – whether staying at Hyatt or at a Onefinestay property.