Friday, 01 September 2017 16:32

Fight club: can the hotel industry win its war against airbnb?


You might still be treated to a vague blankness in response to asking the average baby boomer if they checked Airbnb before booking their week in the sun, but the tech giant that former school buddies Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia founded with a rentable air-bed is continuing its brisk march to the top of the travel industry; valued at over $30 billion, it was recently revealed that the brand’s total number of listings is higher than the top five major hotel brands.

That is more rooms than Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental, Wyndham and AccorHotels. Combined. Allowing hosts to cut out the reservation request, Airbnb’s ‘Instant Book’ hotel-style system now sees more than 1.9 million listings bookable with just a few clicks; 5 August 2017 saw more than 2.5 million ‘guests’ tucked up in strangers’ sheets. It’s easy to see why the hotel industry is getting dirty in its feud with the largely unregulated platform. Having made an unprecedented impact on travel habits, this is a fight brimming on all-out war.

“Airbnb is operating a lodging industry, but it is not playing by the same rules”, barked Troy Flanagan, the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s vice president for state and local government affairs, recently. “We are trying to showcase and bust the myth that Airbnb supports mom and pop and helps them make extra money. Home-sharing is not what this is about.” And just last month, Bloomberg reported that Share Better, a collaboration between hotel union and industry leaders, were using sting operations to expose what they deem as illegal Airbnb activity, leading the brand to bite back …

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