One of the most significant threats to traditional hotels comes from the home-sharing economy, represented by companies like Airbnb. While it may seem like Airbnb is taking over the world, there are still plenty of reasons why people choose to stay in hotels rather than rent a room or an entire home from a stranger.
It’s not enough to have the most comfortable beddings from the best commercial linen supplier or have 5-star amenities on site, though. You can improve your business by taking inspiration from Airbnb. Here are just a few examples:
1. Make Use of Technology
Airbnb has been very successful in using technology to improve customer experience. From the user-friendly interface of their website and app to their innovative features like instant booking, they have made it easy for customers to find and book accommodations that meet their needs.
Hotels can use technology to improve the customer experience in a number of ways. For example, they can invest in a user-friendly website and mobile app that makes it easy for customers to find and book rooms. They can also use technology to provide enhanced services such as mobile check-in and room service.
2. Offer Unique Experiences
One of the things that set Airbnb apart from traditional hotels is the wide variety of unique experiences that they offer. Whether it's staying in a treehouse, a yurt or an entire castle, Airbnb offers travellers the opportunity to have an unforgettable experience.
Hotels can learn from this by offering unique experiences of their own. For example, they could partner with local businesses to offer package deals that include activities such as golf outings, spa treatments or winery tours in Australia. They could also offer unique room types or packages that appeal to specific markets, such as families or business travellers.
3. Be More Flexible with Cancellations
Airbnb is known for being more flexible than traditional hotels when it comes to cancellations. While hotels typically charge hefty cancellation fees, Airbnb only charges a small fee if a guest cancels within 24 hours of their check-in date.
Hotels could allow guests to cancel without penalty if they do so at least a week in advance. Or, they could offer a refund for any nights that are not used due to a last-minute cancellation.
4. Personalise the Experience
Another thing that sets Airbnb apart from traditional hotels is the personal touch that they add to the customer experience. From providing welcome gifts to offering local tips and recommendations, Airbnb goes above and beyond to make sure that their guests have a personalised experience.
Hotels can then make an effort to personalise the guest experience. For example, they could send a welcome e-mail before arrival that includes information about the hotel and the local area. They could also provide a list of recommended activities or restaurants based on the guest's interests.
5. Provide Value for Money
Airbnb is often able to offer better value for money than traditional hotels. This is because they don't have the same overhead costs, such as expensive property taxes and utilities. As a result, they can pass these savings on to their guests in the form of lower prices.
Hotels can learn from this by finding ways to reduce their own overhead costs. For example, they could renegotiate their property taxes or switch to more energy-efficient lighting and appliances. By reducing their costs, hotels will be able to offer more competitive prices and provide better value for money.
By taking inspiration from Airbnb, hotels can make improvements that will help them better compete in today's market.