For hotels, elling rooms on Airbnb means competing against more and more hosts hiring out their own pads. In this challenging market, small brands need to play to their strengths.
“This could be their uniqueness or their connection to a local area,” says Fergal McGivney, senior travel analyst at Mintel. “Younger consumers want an authentic experience, away from tourist traps and the masses of holidaymakers. Independents could also offer apartment-style rooms for guests, although they’d have to make sure it would be profitable for them.”
Salisbury agrees that hotels should focus on their links to the locality. “A strong food and beverage offering attracts both tourists and locals and hopefully creates a great atmosphere.” He adds that excellent service is another area where hotels can excel.
Even if hoteliers do get on board with Airbnb, they remain annoyed that the platform’s hosts face less regulation. “I’m angry that we have to jump through regulatory hoops and checks, while a normal household can just be let out. We have to pay 20% VAT, and business rates are horrendous, but people hiring out their own homes are able to earn an income without any of those requirements,” says Bishop.
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