Best Western CEO says Airbnb can't promise the cleanliness hotels can during pandemic
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic hammered the U.S. hotel industry.
Since March, most Americans have stayed at home and worked from home; no travel meant no hotel stays. U.S. hotels have lost more than $46 billion in booking revenue since mid-February, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). In May, U.S. hotel profit fell by 105% vs. May 2019. The industry is projecting a 50% drop in revenue for 2020 overall. As of July 30, more than half of the open hotel rooms in the U.S. were sitting empty.
But now many Americans are at last beginning to venture out and (cautiously) travel—mostly in the form of summer road trips—and in many cases, they will choose between hotels and Airbnb houses.
Kong makes the case that hotel chains are safer and cleaner than Airbnbs right now, thanks to the AHLA's "Safe Stay" program, which establishes uniform room cleaning protocols.
"All the major hotel brands have implemented that," says Kong. "And people should feel very safe and secure and comfortable staying at major hotels. That's a little different than Airbnb, which is not regulated and also does not provide the same reassurance."