Reinventing your property to face Airbnb
Founded in 2008, Airbnb turned out to be one of the main competitors for hospitality industry’s players. Indeed, the community platform for accommodation rentals and reservations is present in almost 191 countries, 81,000 cities and represent more than 4,5 million accommodations. Following its quick growth and strong popularity, the young start-up has become the market leader for the rental of accommodations and has changed the hospitality sector. To do so, it has forced many hoteliers to innovate in order to stand out and to remain competitive.
Use new technology to stand out
First of all, you have to know that your property is more likely to stand out using new technologies. Be aware that this can be expensive but it will undoubtedly improve your customer experience. So keep in mind that adopting technologies should always be easy to use, but it should also save you time and make your customers’ lives easier. For example, you could focus on a digital customer journey, especially by optimizing your online booking engine which would simplify the process of travelers’ booking and then, offer them the possibility to register online few days before their stay. They can also complete their registration independently and quickly by using your property’s check-in kiosks. Thus, it is possible to use other innovations such as connected robots, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality to revolutionize your property’s customer experience. Moreover, the automation of certain tasks will allow your staff to have more time to chat with your guests, meet their needs and advise them, whether it is about your different services, your catering offers, your spa packages or the authentic activities not to be missed.
Propose suitable offers at competitive prices
Although the price is not the only criterion taken into consideration by travelers, there is evidence that the price influences 7 out of 10 travelers’ final decision. Thus, they often tend to start their researches for accommodations on Airbnb because they think that prices offered will be more affordable. In reality, this is not always the case, it all depends on several factors including the destination chosen, the hotel’s location and services included. Thereby it would relevant to review your yield management strategy and to propose offers adapted according to the type of travelers whether it’s a couple, a family or even a business traveler. This would remove non-essential items and will help to suggest offers which are more personalized and at interesting prices for your target customer. Don’t forget that what allows’ you to stand out from Airbnb is mainly the services offered to your customers. In conclusion, be creative, offer modern and connected rooms, favor local partnerships, highlight gastronomic activities or authentic and personalized discoveries.
Strengthen the online e-reputation of your property
In order to stand out from your competitors, your property must be modernized and remain relevant to travelers. It starts with an excellent online presence with an optimized website, updated social media and positive online reviews. Why stand out online? Simply because all of these platforms influences travelers final choice. Indeed, it has been proven that 7 out of 10 travelers visit a hotel’s online platforms and online review sites before making a reservation. Moreover, be sure to stay active on each of your online platforms, whether it’s to respond to private messages and comments, to identify good and bad reviews left by your customers or to interact with your different audiences and then create your own online community. This will bring you more credibility and it will strengthen the e-reputation of your property.
Use Airbnb as a distributor
Nowadays, Airbnb is shifting and tends to become an OTA such as Expedia or even Booking.com. This change implies joining properties’ sales circuit as more and more booking engine and channel manager are connecting with this platform. As hoteliers, you can use Airbnb to put your rental units online. Thereby, this new sales channel can be a great opportunity for you to convert Airbnb users to make a reservation at your property.
Attract more Millennials
The Millennial generation is a potential clientele for the hospitality industry. Whether you are an independent establishments or a world leaders, this generation has succeeded in forcing hoteliers to reinvent themselves and adapt their properties while being creative. As hoteliers, it becomes unthinkable not to rethink your strategies in order to attract them to your property. Furthermore, it is proven that 52% of the Millennials who regularly use Airbnb will prefer a short stay at the hotel. So why not take this opportunity to attract them to your property? Indeed, they appreciate the fact that communication with the staff of the property is easier and that there is always someone there if needed. Before opting for a strategy to attract them, keep in mind that the Y generation is nomadic, flexible, demanding and connected. It’s a less wealthy clientele, who use collaborative platforms such as Airbnb. The Millennials aren’t loyal to a single brand because they like to discover and try new things.
As a result, several hoteliers have decided to bet on the opening of new lifestyle experience and trendy establishments. They also decided to break the old luxury’s image, which used to be for wealthy people and replace it with a more accessible luxury. The accessible luxury is represented by properties which are more modern, more connected and more personalized. Furthermore, this new concept boosts meetings and interactions between travelers and allows them to take advantage of various spaces specially dedicated to work or rest. Overall, the main advantage of this new concept is to promote emotional intelligence, especially by creating and stimulating emotion of your guests. This will give your guests the impression of feeling unique and special, thanks to small personalized attentions. In a nutshell, it will create a wow effect, given by a feeling of hyper satisfaction.
The hospitality industry is a constantly evolving sector which is facing new trends and new consumer behaviors. Indeed the demand is changing and today’s traveler is not the same as before. In addition, the evolution of new technologies forces hoteliers to adapt their properties quickly but also to learn how to reinvent themselves.
Innovation is definitely one of the success key to reinvent your property but several factors such as a diversified demand, regulatory safety and hygiene obligations must also be respected. Even if Airbnb is designed as a giant of the collaborative economy and a real competitors for every hoteliers, you should not see this collaborative platform as a threats but as an excellent opportunity to reinvent your property. It is true that it is a big challenge but it will help you to remain competitive and it will allow you to offer an authentic and unique customer experience to your future guests.