The battle for the dollars of guests who book travel online started years ago, but in recent months the fighting has greatly accelerated.

Airbnb is, essentially, the aggressor these days, as the tech-based company continues its efforts to add more hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, which puts it into direct competition with other booking agents in the field. This has been going on for some time. What has changed recently, however, is that Airbnb has made its efforts to eat into the business of other hospitality providers more overt, public and transparent.

An Open Letter to the Hospitality Industry

In fact, the company penned an open letter this week for “boutique hotel and bed-and-breakfast owners,” explicitly establishing that they not only want to advertise those properties’ rooms on the Airbnb platform, but that they also think that doing so is a better option for those business than going with established big online travel agencies, namely Booking and Expedia.

Along with that letter, Airbnb also included a larger trade-centric advertising campaign that is aimed directly at hoteliers.

Airbnb’s Primary Selling Points

The primary selling points that Airbnb stressed to hoteliers were intricate and diverse. They included:

  • Airbnb is one of the most popular choices for millennial travelers as well as international visitors. The company went on to cite statistics that show its number of travellers from outside of the United States had grown by roughly 30 percent in 2017 year over year, which is obviously nothing to scoff at.
  • Airbnb has the tools that hoteliers need and the company is actively committed to adding more advanced technology to keep pace with industry demands. In this regard, Airbnb noted its upcoming home categories, which include vacation home, unique space, b&b, and boutique. These categories, the company said, will allow hosts a chance to better classify their accommodations, which will in turn make it easier for guests to find the exact type of space that they’re looking for. Airbnb has also hinted at a Superguest loyalty plan that it is planning to launch later this year, likely during the summer.
  • Airbnb has lower fees than for independent hoteliers to pay, lower than the large online travel agencies it is seeking to directly compete against. Airbnb’s commission structure involves charging hosts (a group that includes non-branded hotels) a commission fee of between 3 and 5 percent, and then subsequently charging between 5 and 15 percent in fees to each Airbnb guest per booking. To put this in context, it notes that the large online travel agencies such as Booking or Expedia often charge even independent hotels a commission fee that can reach as high as between 25 and 30 percent.
  • Finally, Airbnb does not require its hoteliers to sign a contract in order to use its services, and they don’t have to worry about fending off competition from giants such as Marriott and Hilton when they decide to put their rooms up on the Airbnb platform. This, however, it should be noted may change in the coming years, but for now that’s how it is.

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