For the last few years, hospitality has been all abuzz about threats from the sharing economy.
But recent headlines indicate that the long-term disruption from companies like Airbnb may be more about a blurring of lines in hospitality as hotel companies move to offer more vacation rentals and Airbnb moves into a hybrid version of the hotel space.
Last week, Airbnb made it clear it thinks there is value in traditional lodging options with the announcement it was building a hotel-style apartment building in Orlando, complete with a concierge and check-in desk.
It is also making a serious play into the more traditional vacation rental market with new tools that make it easier for professional property managers to offer their inventory on the Airbnb platform.
At the same time, Hyatt joined the growing list of hotel companies looking to compete in the sharing economy by adding the ability for its loyalty members to earn and redeem points on apartment rentals through a service called Oasis.
Accor hotels was among the first hotel companies to move into the sharing economy, acquiring the luxury home rental service onefinestay. It upped its game this year with purchase of two other luxury home rental companies that have boosted its inventory to more than 10,000 rentals.
Choice and Wyndham have also made changes to better compete in the sharing economy.
Last year, Choice announced it would partner with other companies to offer its loyalty members the ability to redeem their points for use at vacation rental properties.
And Wyndham announced it’s making 17,000 accommodations from its vacation rental and timeshare businesses eligible for free stays through its Wyndham Rewards loyalty program.
While it’s easy to understand the threat being felt by hoteliers by Airbnb, we all know that competition is what drives progress, innovation and improvement, and it’s exciting to see how the industry is responding to this disruption.
– Toni Portmann