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By Linchi Kwok

Entering 2018, Airbnb will soon celebrate the company's 10th anniversary. The company has now turned into one giant service provider in the lodging industry.

Today, Airbnb has already served more than 200 million travelers in more than 65,000 cities around the world. With a supply of more than 3 million listings, Airbnb has more available "rooms" than any hotel chain in the world. It was inevitable that Airbnb would make a significant negative impact on hotels due to its increasing supply and the low entry costs for Airbnb operators.

But hotels are fighting back. They are trying every possible way to stop the growth of Airbnb.

Hotels' strategies

Airbnb's strategies

  • Airbnb is ready to enter the real estate market, contrary to the "asset-light" strategy adopted by hotels. A few weeks ago, Airbnb just made an announcement that the company was going to invest $200 million in the company's branded apartment project in cities across the U.S. Tenants in these apartments will have the permission to rent their place on Airbnb for up to 180 days a year; they would then share a portion of the revenue they make with the landlord. The apartment complexes will also be built with "Airbnb-friendly" designs, such as keyless entry and shared common areas.
     
  • Airbnb wants to become a full-service travel company after acquiring several other travel service companies.
     
  • Airbnb is actively improving its products for business travelers. Airbnb not only launched a website that tailors to business travelers but also provides clear guidelines to hosts, helping them make their listings "business-traveler-ready."
     
  • Other services that Airbnb is working on include: development of a gadget that will provide reliable internet connections to travelers, as well as fighting back against the lodging industry and the lawsuits against the company.
     

What can we expect in 2018?

I wish I had a crystal ball in my hands, but I believe it would be frightening for hoteliers when Airbnb begins putting listings into categories based on the service and amenities provided.

Imagine what would happen when Airbnb's 3 million listings are being labeled with distinguishable "brands" in their own categories, as what clear branding would do to hotels. What about when Airbnb hosts are trained as professional operators who can manage their listings as effectively and efficiently as hotels?

Yet what concerns me the most is the attitudes held by some hotel leaders who, for whatever reason, have never stayed in an Airbnb before. As an old Chinese proverb says, "Know your enemy and yourself, win every battle."

I am urging every hotelier to add one more item to the list of their New Year's resolutions: Give Airbnb a trial if you have not done so yet. 


Reprinted with permission from Multibriefs

About Linchi Kwok

Linchi Kwok is an associate professor in The Collins College of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). He came to Cal Poly Pomona by way of Syracuse University and Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a blogger and publishes refereed journal articles on service operations, information technology and social media. Linchi is a recipient of The W. Bradford Wiley Memorial Best (Research) Paper of the Year Award. His perspectives have been quoted in The New York Times, NBC News and LA Times, among other mainstream media outlets. Linchi received an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. degree in hospitality administration from Texas Tech University and an MBA degree from Syracuse University

Contact: Linchi Kwok

lguo@csupomona.edu / 909-869-4523

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