How is Airbnb affecting the hotel market?


How is Airbnb affecting the hotel market?

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Peer-to-peer online marketplace Airbnb seems to be on an unstoppable rise as it approaches 20,000 rentals a week in London, according to predictions by technology trends magazine Wired.

Team this with the recent announcement of new features such as luxury custom trips, designed to tap into the luxury travel client base, and it's clear why some in the hotel industry have seen its expansion as a concern and potential threat to business.

According to The Caterer, local hoteliers in Bath have noticed the unregulated growth of Airbnb impacting the market and sent a letter urging the council to reconsider approving more hotel development as the over-saturated market is struggling to cope. In fact, in the most recent AlixPartners Hotel Bulletin, Bath – traditionally one of the 'strongest regional cities for hotel performance in the UK' – was the worst performing of 12 cities studied, showing a 4% decline in revpar during Q4 of 2017.

However, some in the industry believe that hoteliers need to cast their worries aside and instead embrace the accommodation phenomenon. Last year, the secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organisation, Taleb Rifai, told the Telegraph that the "industry should recognise that [sharing accommodation] is not going to go away... it must find ways of coming to terms with this phenomenon and make it work for their advantage."

One such operator, serviced apartment provider Lamington Group, appears determined to do so with what they claim is a new concept – 'hometels'. Attempting to bridge the gap between Airbnb and a hotel, their 71-bedroom venue – set to open in Southampton in June - aims to combine the comfort of an Airbnb with the facilities and security of a hotel.

While there will always be advantages hotels hold over Airbnb, such as security, hygiene and the greater sense of trust in an organisation than an unknown individual, operators need to remember that there is no greater attraction than unique and memorable experiences – something Airbnb work hard to create.

However, perfecting a high quality guest experience that includes personalised touches, surpasses expectations and warm hospitality is something that any hotel can achieve – making them more than a match for the Airbnb concept.

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