What Should Hotels Learn and Copy From AirBnB
May 23, 2018 12:55pm
By Patrick Landman
The hotel industry generally suffers from a victim mentality. AirBnB is the big bad wolf that is not playing according to our rules. Them and other sharing economy business models are bringing damage to our hotels, and it isn't happening in a fair way. But let's turn the game around and find out what we can learn from them to become better at our own business, hotel management, a.k.a. hospitality … Let's have a look at their strategies to find some disruptive ideas and see how we can apply them in our hotels. Ready?
Innovative Strategies for Hotels in the Sharing Economy Age
1.USE OF EXPERIENTIAL HOSPITALITY
The city is the experience itself and Airbnb helps their guests to live it. Experiential travel trumps convenience. So, Airbnb rentals not only offer a place to rest but also unforgettable experiences during the stay. How? They bought the company Trip4real, so their guests can directly book experiences during the stay with local people. Conclusion: it is not just about the stay anymore, it is about the offered value of the entire stay.
HOW CAN HOTEL MANAGERS APPLY THIS INITIATIVE AT THEIR HOTELS?
Have locals show your guest their favorite spots...
2. MAKE THEM FEEL HOME AT YOUR HOTEL
Some guests choose AirBnB it because staying at an apartment makes them feel home. Have a look to the facilities of their apartments and figure it out what do 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? Test it with them! You can have great ROI from very little investment.
At the Townhouse Hotel in Maastricht you can take a book of the shelf and put your feet up...
3. BE HUMAN THROUGH TECH
Let's look at the way they interact with their guests before, during and after their stay. AirBnB is killing it, compared to hotels in service level.
There is an efficient chat mechanism. Actually it's more like email, but it poses as chat, to make it feel more personal. Guests can contact hosts for any question on the facilities, location etc. And the host can make recommendations and provide personalized add-on service throughout.
What upsets me, is that in the hotel industry we have become lazy. Our website is a gatekeeper. It is a barrier that replaced the phone. It allows us not to have to talk to travelers who might be interested to stay with us, or even guests who booked that might, that have some questions.
No mind you, most hoteliers don't want to talk to prospective guests. We have a website, all information is on there. Please look it up yourself, and we will even give you a discount if you book online on our website.
We have to admit AirBnb has smartly noted hotels have missed the boat on how to best use new technology and smartly played into this humanizing the booking process with a more personal human touch.
So let's use all those resources we have our hotels to provide amazing pre-stay and post-stay service, and show travelers how much better we are at this game than AirBnB hosts.
Yes, hoteliers should also communicate and answer questions or concerns and quickly reply or make adjustments, which ultimately builds trust, repeat customers, ...and more (direct) hotel bookings!
At the Boutique Hotel Mabi in Maastricht website visitors chat live with the hotel staff
4. UNIQUENESS AND DESIGN PERSPECTIVE
We have all seen that AirBnB is now open for hotels to advertise their rooms at their platform. The idea behind is that some hotels can offer added value in comparison with the apartments. Basically, They just want hotels that have two characteristics in special: the uniqueness of their space, and cool open areas with common spaces that motivate socialization among guests.
At the Pantone Hotel in Brussels locals and hotel guests alike use the common space to work and meet
5. DECENTRALIZATION & SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
Controversial topic that always jumps into the table when we talk about AirBnB. It is a fact that Tourism has caused congestion at some areas of the cities and this deteriorates the quality of live of the residents. AirBnB says that they are moving guests to areas of cities outside of the city centre because they have apartments all around the city area..
Also lately, AirBnB has published an statement talking about how sustainable tourism benefits to all the stakeholders guests, hosts and cities, and have developed their business taking this mindset into account. And for this reason they want their hosts to be sustainable and to implement green practices. Great but...what can we do?
THE FINAL WORD
AirBnB has taken a piece of the cake by offering a disruptive product, and their growth in few years means that they know what the travellers want. As hotel managers, we need to adapt our offer to satisfy these needs. So..Why limitate ourselves to use them as a new booking channel? Let's steal some strategies from their success and be disruptive, try, experiment!
Tags: patrick landman,
Patrick as CEO and Founder of Xotels has made it his mission to help independent hotels become market leaders. The Xotels' team specializes in Strategic Hotel Management and they have taken Hotel Asset Management game to a new level. With their best practices in hotel revenue management, distribution and online marketing they drive both revenue and profit for boutique hotels, unique budget hotels, innovative hotel concepts, youth hostels and even camping and holiday parks.
Contact: Patrick Landman
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