World Panel
Viewpoint 4 April 2019

Is Airbnb Hotelier’s Friend or Foe?

Digital Marketing in Hospitality

— 14 experts shared their view

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This viewpoint was created by
Max Starkov, Adjunct Professor NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality and Hospitality & Online Travel Tech Consultant
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Cindy Estis Green
Co-founder and CEO, Kalibri Labs, LLC

From the time they announced they were pursuing boutique hotel inventory in March 2018, Airbnb's intentions became obvious. Just as Expedia and have to diversify into short term rental, Airbnb has to add hotels. Growth rates are critical if they want to IPO and their penetration in vacation rental cannot maintain the meteoric rise with head-on competition from the OTAs. Pushback from tax and safety regulations in major markets has been another persistent headwind.

 In terms of how this plays out for hoteliers? Anything that puts more competition into the mix to challenge the duopoly of Expedia and has to have some advantages. However, as 3rd parties are direct competitors to the more profitable, they will usually be a second choice as a demand driver. Google's recent enhancements to their direct booking platform pose a serious challenge to the OTA's economic model while Airbnb has some advantages with its higher level of direct app usage by its core user base. Airbnb is no more friend to the hotelier than the OTAs, but the biggest concern for all is Google.

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