In the last few years Airbnb has grown at an astounding rate, having recently put millions of dollars into it’s rebranding and marketing campaigns it’s likely that Airbnb will continue to grow in future years. For the most part the hotel industry has successfully ignored Airbnb and carried on making profit, however times are changing and now is time for the hotel industry to adapt.
What is Airbnb?
Airbnb is essentially an online marketplace where homeowners or landlords around the world can list their properties to those looking for a place to stay. Be it an entire apartment for a night, a log cabin for a week or a villa for a month, there’s a huge amount of choice available and it’s all at the press of a button.
It’s easy to understand why Airbnb has grown in popularity so much in such as short time, not only does it offer you plenty of choice of destination and property type but it’s also incredibly personal. Whilst this might not be for everyone, most properties on Airbnb are decorated in a homely manner, (because likelihood is, they are peoples homes) the decor, photos on the walls, style of sofa, plants in the living room, all of it is personal. Showing these details triggers something inside that makes you connect with the property.
That’s not where the personalisation stops however, upon reading descriptions of the properties or even the ‘house rules’ they’re usually written in a friendly and personal way, this stranger genuinely sounds like your friend wanting you to stay, rather than using text to hard sell a stay in their property.
Airbnb is also fully optimised for mobiles and tablets, in fact people are more likely to book with the app over the website. Booking a place to stay on Airbnb is quick and simple and fulfils the need for instant gratification that we all love so much.
How can hotels compete?
One of the main draws of Airbnb is how personal and down to earth it is, in order to compete hotel chains and even independent hotels need to up their personalisation game. Not only is it a good idea to physically make your hotel look more personal and even in some case more homely but you can also use your website to create a unique experience for your potential guests. Create friendly, encouraging copy on your website, don’t try to sell to your guests, speak to them in a friendly, yet still professional manner.
Quite possibly the biggest selling point of Airbnb is how easy it is to navigate around the website or app and how genuinely simple it is to book a place to say. The flat, card design layout of the website this means content is easy to see and read and looks great on both desktop and mobile devices. When you look for places to stay you’re given a map of the surrounding area at the side of the screen so you have a large view of where exactly the property is in relation to the area.
There is even the option to ‘Instant book’ whilst this isn’t always the case, especially with a popular property, this option means you can have a place to stay within minutes. Compare this to the possibility of checking availability and shopping around for cheaper prices, it makes sense that people would choose to go for the quicker method.
Ultimately Airbnb allows customers to search for and book places to stay at the drop of a hat. It’s well designed, it understands what guests want and realises the importance of personalisation. Whilst the hotel industry shouldn’t be panicking just yet, it’s time to embrace technology and digital methods to keep ahead of the game.