10 Apr Airbnb vs. Hotels – The war has just begun…
Some industries are prone to SLOW innovation, especially when they are technology averse at the core and driven by profit rather than customer experience.
But recently, innovation has forced itself to hospitality. It is no longer a choice, a luxury but rather the only alternative. Innovate or die trying?
Why? Because customers have the choice and Airbnb and alike are often a better alternative.
Some actors ( read branded hotels ) are slow, often due to the politics involved in the decision process. ( Like taking 3 days in changing a basic printing cartridge, really )
However, there is still hope!
Here is why hotels should be afraid of Airbnb & in love with them at the same time
1. Television as the ultimate entertainment center? Nope.
Hotels still believe TV is critical. I guess it would be weird to have a room without TV, but what’s inside the TV? Netflix? Probably not. Amazon Videos? Nope. Tivo? No. Chromecast? Apple TV? Hell no. The new super awesome Amazon Fire TV? No!! An impossible to browse menu? yes!
The cycles of replacement of TV in hotels are 5 to 7 years. So you have the choice, you can either get a 3-year old 40 inch TV in a hotel room, with a proprietary menu and 300 channels, 280 of those you don’t care about OR you can rent my apartment on airbnb and you will have a 4 meters x 4 meters 1080p video projector, with netflix, chromecast, airplay, Tivo and some more geeky plugins. ( At least if you rent my apartment! J )
Looking for an amazing cinema experience?
People love games.
From Flappy Birds, 2048, Angry Birds to Call of Duty, Need for Speed, most recognize that games do not make people brain explode but are great to relax or have a good time.
A friend of mine who rented his apart on Airbnb had just started playing at Call of Duty and had created his online profile to play multiplayer. A family with a kid rented the place for a few days.
A week later, my friend turned the Playstation on to play and discovered that his ranking had increased by 40 levels! That kid was good.
Looking for an amazing console gaming experience?
Hotels are showcased in so many places such as Tripadvisor, last minute travel apps such as HotelTonight, websites like Expedia or Booking.com. And yes, hotels still have their own websites!
So many channels of distributions, including offline travel agencies, make it possible for us users to discover great hotels matching our needs in the way that we much prefer.
In comparaison, Airbnb Properties are often only available on Airbnb.com or competing apartment rentals companies, but so far the distribution – and the consistent UX which we love so much – means only one main point of marketing.
Looking for your best way to discover your next place to go to?
4. Easy Booking
Here I feel mixed. The booking experience is so nice on Airbnb that I’m tempted to say I much prefer it to any hotel booking flow I’ve done.
However, looking at the reality of life where some people still call hotels to make bookings sometimes, the way to book hotels is more versatile: Fax, Travel agency, phone, booking.com, email etc.
Therefore, just like Dropbox is wonderful because it works on all platform and devices ( and Hotelcloud too ).. I declare that:
Looking for your best way to book your next place to go to?
I just came back from a trip in the French Alps, and I came back with amazing memories, because I had an amazing time.
Why? Dog Sledding!
While the hotel had tons of promotion flyers, I did not even consult any of them but rather spoke with Vanille, at the clothes shop. After evaluating how I could have the best time, she mentioned Dog Sledding and she was right!
Local knowledge and recommendation is still key to a great life experience. But at this moment, hotels and apartments do not have the best way of communicating their recommendations and knowledge.
Hotels do have concierges sometimes, and they always have (seasonal staff) that will most likely learn overtime top 5 or top 10 places to recommend.
Apartment have nothing… except when they have Hotelcloud powered local guides and e-concierge activities partners.
Looking for your best local experience?
Things are progressing fast and every good ideas are good to take for Airbnb and Hotels:
Airbnb and alike keep improving their core “hotel” type value added services and of course “get it” when it comes to technology removing frictions.
Hotels are, slowly but surely, evolving on the technology front to leverage their strength and convey it via technology.
Winner: Us travelers!
Travel more and enjoy life.