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The Full Stay Cycle: The Core of Hospitality Success

In an era where industries can be completely upended by fast-moving upstarts, many CEOs are concerned about the rapid pace of competitive innovation.

According to this InformationWeek story that highlights an IBM CEO survey, many business leaders see technology and new innovators as being the number one factor that will impact their businesses in the next five years.

In the hospitality arena, a similar situation is happening where “sharing economy” leaders like Uber and Airbnb are embracing strategies that focus on the entire stay cycle for guests. This is causing many hotel brands to re-think how they cater to guests.

In a recent Fast Company profile, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky discussed how he read an introductory textbook on hospitality taught by Cornell’s hotel school in 2013, and had the epiphany that Airbnb would become hospitality brand. The premise behind this is that Airbnb would “no longer be about where you stay, but what you do – and whom you do it with – while you’re there.”

This move could be a signal to further push hospitality brands to focus on the full stay cycle for guests – even more than they do today.

A core component of this will be providing even more personalized experiences for travelers. Of course, this comes down to data and really knowing the guests, which requires the right systems that create a foundation of trust – where guests will be more apt to share their personal data if brands can provide real-time improvements to their journey.

According to this Skift report, it seems that today’s multi-screen world is creating new opportunities for hoteliers “to react in an anytime-anywhere capacity to travelers’ needs.”

The most critical component is actually bringing this real-time, data-driven approach to pleasing guests to life. Many hotel brands may want to amp up their efforts and become laser focused on this – because Airbnb is not resting on its laurels.


How to Combat the Rise of Airbnb

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.