At its Airbnb Open conference in November, the sharing economy platform unveiled Airbnb Trips, its foray into guided tours and events. Whatever effect it has on Airbnb’s $30 billion valuation is not for me to say, but I think it portends different things for branded and independent hotels.
To some hotel operators, marketers and revenue leaders, it seems as though Airbnb has been a thorn in their sides for a long time. In reality, the sharing economy site didn’t launch until 2009 and took two years to book its first million roomnights. Today, it is ubiquitous, especially in markets like New York City with high hotel room rates and lots of tourists.
It seems counterintuitive, but hotels might have found the hook that spurs more travelers to book their next stay with their brands, particularly on a mobile app: encouraging those guests to leave their room.
New York City’s hotel supply and demand numbers have been puzzling for most of 2016. According to STR data presented at the NYU Hospitality Conference in June, the market’s occupancy through April was holding steady at nearly 80%, but its year-to-date RevPAR had decreased 3.4%.
Onefinestay founder Greg Marsh used his keynote speech at the 2016 Revenue Strategy Summit to distill hotels’ chances for fighting back against OTAs to one D-word. And it wasn’t “disruption.” It was “differentiation.”