Airbnb users spent $2.4Bn on lodging from October 2014 to September 2015, according to a study by CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research. This figure may only represent 1.7% of the $141 billion hotels made in the same period overall, but it is a significant figure for a single company that doesn’t technically own any hotels, and also represents an impressive year-on-year increase. At the moment, the company has two million rooms listed in over 34,000 cities across the globe, so this figure isn’t a surprise.
The company has taken an entirely new approach to accommodation and they are taking full advantage of the sharing economy we live in. With time and the increasing traction that Airbnb hotels are gaining, there is a big question that has come up — is Airbnb a threat to hotels around the world? And the answer to this quite obvious — whether they want to admit it or not, hotels against Airbnb is becoming a fact.
How Can Hotels Compete With Airbnb ?
To win against a platform that owns any of the real estate listings but still manages to lead by arranging or offering lodging, homestays, tourism experiences, it is not an easy goal to achieve.
However, there are several ways and strategies that hotels can inculcate and go nip and tuck.
Is Your Hotel Taking Full Advantage of Technology?
Hotels still offer better amenities, services, and standards that an Airbnb hotel can’t compare with. And that’s a good thing because a TrustYou study revealed that guests are willing to pay more for a better experience.
However, many hotels are slow to adopt innovative technologies that will help improve the guest experience and their operations. And guests nowadays are looking for experiences — experiences the staff is more focused towards the guest rather than the hotel operations.
Furthermore, 70 percent of travellers are affected in their decision to book a stay by a hotel’s website, apps and any other digital tools on offer, according to a Mangani Caruso Dutton study. This makes it even more surprising that so many hotels are slow to adopt new technologies.
If they want to lead and win against Airbnb, Hotels must ensure that they have the most advanced hotel tech in place — tech that automates and streamlines operations, leaving the staff with ample amount of time in serving the guest better.
Airbnb Users Enjoy Independence But Like Being Able To Communicate With Their Hosts
Airbnb hotel guests like the fact that they are independent to a certain degree so they can feel as if they are part of the area they are visiting, rather than feeling like a tourist. However, they also enjoy that they can easily communicate with their hosts and build a relationship.
To compete, convert to self-service where possible, such as offering digital check-in and check-out. At the same time, always make sure your staff are there for the guest, creating an amazing experience. And don’t just communicate while your guest is there. Connect with them before and after their trip as well. Remember, it’s all about building strong relationships.
This is where hotel tech solutions like Hotelogix come into the picture. It provides hotels with not just automation but with an architecture where they can do anything and everything to ensure they are building a strong relationship with the guest.
Whether it’s about offering guests with special offers while booking from the hotel website, or keeping the guests posted with pre- and post-stay emails or freeing up the staff to serve the guest better, PMS solutions like Hotelogix does it all.
Airbnb Goes Local And So Should You
Until recently, Airbnb was targeting a younger demographic, mainly millennials. But now they’ve shifted their focus to families, pushing the idea of an immersive, local experience being more enjoyable than the traditional tourist-oriented trip.
Just like an Airbnb hotel, your hotel needs to focus on promoting the idea that guests can experience your destination like a local.
As a hotelier, you have to ensure that you are catering to a specific age group; you must ensure that whoever is your guest is/are, gets the feel and vibe of being a special guest. One single negative ramification and you end up leaving the guest with an unpleasant experience.
Come up with tactics and create an architecture that resonates with guests of any group.
Create A Video Of Your Local Area
Content is king. Period. And people love watching content online! In fact, 66% of potential travellers watch travel content while considering going on a trip. So, posting a video of your local area, showcasing all the attractions, on your homepage is definitely an effective strategy to engage your audience and inspire them to become your guests.
And remember, 55% of visitors spend no more than 15 seconds on a website, so make sure you are selling the “local” concept right on your homepage. Show them exactly why they will have — a memorable and “local” experience if they stay at your hotel.
Use Your Blog Effectively
Blogging has always been a vital player to engage the audience. And you as a hotelier can also make the most out of it by writing about the about your local area, mentioning all the experiences one can have there. Talk about local events, great places to visit and amazing, out-of-the-way restaurants to eat at. And blog about all these things as a local and not with a focus towards tourist activities.
People are always looking for pieces of blogs that deliver value, and if done right, blogging is definitely one of the ways how hotels can compete with Airbnb. So, don’t just blog for the sake of content, blog to deliver value.
Take Advantage Of Your Staff
Airbnb offers guidebooks created by the hosts to the local neighbourhood. Of course, these guides offer information on great attractions but also things like the host’s favourite coffee shop that might not be so well known or mundane amenities like directions to the closest 24/7 pharmacy.
Your hotel can offer similar information. Take advantage of your staff and don’t just ask them about places they already know but send them out to do research. Encourage them to explore the area where your hotel is so they can offer recommendations, with a focus on places that are off the beaten track.
Airbnb is getting bigger by the day, but hotels can easily compete as long as you focus on what’s important, namely offering a delightful guest experience. Adopt a guest-centric attitude and focus on offering a “local” experience, and you’ll find it much easier to compete with Airbnb.
A Robust Property Management System
One of the major advantages hotels have is that it can have a property management system (PMS), while there is nothing called Airbnb PMS. Airbnb cannot go all out and get all its listed hotels a system — it’s the hotel that would decide whether it wants a system or still wants to be traditional.
If you are still wondering how can hotels compete with Airbnb, the answer to that is a PMS like Hotelogix. It is one of the world’s most comprehensive cloud PMS that automates your entire hotel operations. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg — Hotelogix is much more than just a PMS. It has some of the most next-gen features that allow hotels to be at the forefront when it comes to attracting guests, getting more bookings and boosting revenue.
Technology is changing the way the hotel industry works, and it is high time for hotels to make the most out of it. If your hotel is still tech deprived, then it’s definitely high time to get your hands on techs like cloud and automation.