What Airbnb’s rapid uptake means for small accommodation providers

While it started out as a way for homeowners to sublet their spare rooms, Airbnb is fast becoming used by small accommodation providers – especially those who offer self-catered apartments.

With its growing adoption and popularity, there’s no doubt that Airbnb has disrupted the hospitality industry, keeping competing big hotel chains on their toes. In fact, research has shown that Airbnb can slow the growth of average daily room rates (ADR) at traditional hotels.

Why do travellers love Airbnb?

Many travellers – most of them millennials – have come to embrace the sharing economy model for plenty of services, including Airbnb.

This is because there are so many options when it comes to pricing and type of accommodation. When travellers visit a city, it’s not just limited to the finite number of hotels in the area. A multitude of apartments have rooms for rent, or they can even stay in a treehouse if they want to.

There’s also the unique experience that guests receive by staying at a local’s house. If hosts are present, there’s the element of having a truly personal touch. Some people just prefer staying at someone’s house!

What are some concerns with Airbnb?

Because anyone can be a host, there is less regulation at the property.

The hotel industry has said that they want to ‘maintain a level and regulated playing field’ when it comes to Airbnb, and have asked for more regulation for Airbnb hosts as a result. In fact, they have lobbied for laws that would slow the growth of Airbnb by restricting the homes and apartments that can be listed on it.

Additionally, female travellers question safety and security when staying at an Airbnb.

What does this mean for small accommodation providers?

Many small accommodation providers are already using Airbnb to sell their rooms or rent out their apartments. But even if you aren’t, the rapid uptake of Airbnb is actually good news for small hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns and guesthouses.

It’s a signal that travellers are shifting towards properties just like yours – and furthermore, that you can capitalise on the typical Airbnb host’s flaws.

An Airbnb host can be anyone who decides to rent out their granny flat on Airbnb, and because it’s so unregulated, many travellers are simply uncomfortable with it.

You can capatalise on this discomfort by providing your compelling service and personal touch, while also being a legitimate, regulated accommodation provider.

Just make sure that you work on your services so that they’re as valuable as possible. For example, guests that like services like Airbnb are all about convenience, with technology as the enabler. Make sure that you have your online booking process in top shape so that you can capture these tech-savvy guests.

This means that you mobile-optimise your website, integrate a hotel booking engine into your website, and make sure you keep in touch with your guests before and after their stay.

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