Airbnb’s next evolution presents more challenges for traditional hotels

by | Mar 6, 2018 | General News

Airbnb recently announced its plans for the future, many of which stand to present a more direct challenge for the precious dollars of travellers

As Airbnb has exploded in popularity and begun to eat into the business of traditional hotels, some owners and operators have preached that the company’s model—which enables users to rent out their homes and properties to other users—does not poise much of a threat to their place in the hospitality business.

This stance, however, has just become harder to defend. Airbnb recently announced its plans for the future, many of which stand to present a more direct challenge for the precious dollars of travellers.

Airbnb’s Latest Plans for the Future

The company has recently announced a strategy that seems destined to take away business from big chain hotels and online travel agencies.

Essentially, it now seems as if the company will evolve from its origins as a provider of shared accommodations into a fully-operational wide-scale travel organization. Airbnb’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Chesky, recently made the announcement at a special event in San Francisco, saying that plans for the immediate future include making easier for hotels to list rooms on the site by expanding the type and quality of listings.

In addition, Airbnb plans to introduce four new categories for rentals, hire additional staff to vet its higher-end listings, and launch a customer loyalty program later this year. It’s worth noting that perks such as customer loyalty programs have long been a strategy that traditional large hotel chains have used to prevent the loss of business to Airbnb.

Meet Airbnb Plus

Speaking of higher end accommodations, Airbnb is also launching a new program called Airbnb plus, which will serve as a curated section of featured listings that have met a 100-point quality checklist in order to participate.

Criteria for being part of the program includes having a clean and clutter-free space and fast Wi-Fi service for guests, among other amenities. In order to participate in Airbnb Plus, which ran as a pilot under the name Airbnb Select, accommodations don’t have to be considered luxury, they simply have to meet the standards that Airbnb has set forth.

In fact, in announcing this service, Airbnb noted that the average cost of an Airbnb Plus selection is less than $250 a night. The idea for this program came after Airbnb’s research determined that 73 percent of the service’s users were willing to pay additional costs to stay in verified homes.

What this means for Airbnb hosts is that if they meet the criteria for the Airbnb Plus program, they will likely be able to charge more for their accommodations. What this means for hotels is that the consistency and standards they have long held as an advantage over Airbnb may be destined to soon vanish.

As part of the announcement, CEO Chesky also said that this was all part of his vision, which would have his company hosting 1 billion guests throughout the globe annually within the next 10 years.

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