[Roundup] Airbnb Is About To Eat The Big Hotel Chains’ Lunch

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, very interesting take on airbnbs taking on hotels even though they’re totally different industries in a sense. Being that I’m based here in Las Vegas Nevada has a full-time Uber driver, I can genuinely say that I’m seeing more and more people being picked up and dropped off at airbnbs throughout the city. Interesting read and nonetheless

  2. Where AirBnB shines is in a place like Palm Springs, where you want your own pool, hot tub, etc and you just can’t get the same thing from a hotel. But for the most part unless you have kids, a house is way more than you want to deal with on short trips.

    For me, I will pretty much only choose AirBnB for stays of 2 weeks or longer. For shorter, I vastly prefer the housekeeping and amenities of a hotel, including restaurants, coffee shops, gym/pool, etc. AirBnB also needs to figure out how to lower their cleaning fees, it’s usually at least $300 for a stay, and that just doesn’t make sense. Most properties also require you to do a significant amount of cleaning on your own (taking out trash, removing/washing sheets, towels, etc.)
    If I’m doing all of that, what is this fee going towards??

  3. Very nice! If host does not cancel!! Beware! Host canceled my trip 3 days before leaving! Yes! I was shocked since they had just sent me an email to pack my bags! Airbnb did not care!! They gave me the run around passing me to someone else who promised to help but did not. Ambassador May sent me a campground to rent! Yes!! She called after I called Airbnb 12 times! Asked if I had contacted other hosts! (I had. No availability. At price I paid.) Then she had the nerve to mention the campground! I don’t mind camping but not for this trip. Anyway, do not use Airbnb!!! My trip is within 24 hours and still fighting with them

  4. AirBnB is smart to go public now while private lodgings are hot. Because it is going to tank as soon as things get back to normal. I much prefer a hotel with daily cleaning, room service, points, etc. with a generally consistent experience across properties. AirBnb properties rarely look as good as the photos and are usually inferior as well as more expensive than hotels and with fees that are more absurd than “resort fees”.

    The only reason I do AirBnB now is that US hotel chains have so degraded the experience that it is worth rolling the dice on a larger property. Particularly when I am traveling by car and can bring my dog. But once I’m doing trancons and international travel I will be back to using points for free stays and cash for business stays.

  5. I doubt AirBNB will ever eat the hotels lunch. In my experience, when things go wrong, its better to be dealing with a hotel, rather than a corporation where you can only get in touch over email or a call centre.
    AirBNB has its use cases, and hotels have theres. As another commenter said for anything over 2 weeks, an AirBNB may make sense. For short stays, it might be better to stick to a hotel where you know everything is taken care off.

  6. The article has some interesting data but it’s severely lacking in relevant research. The author never mentioned Airbnb’s actual competition (OTA’s like Booking.com) so the insights aren’t useful.

  7. I agree w 747Always. AirBNB (or VRBO, etc) have their place and can be very successful. However they will never replace hotels. Business travel (even at current low levels) is almost totally in hotels. Plus hotels have amenities, standard expectations (a negative for some people but not most), guaranteed availability if booked and better resolution of issues that may arise. Then you add in the frequent stayer programs.

    Lastly, many places still prohibit AirBNB either to not allow competitors to hotels or, more often, to not have “party houses” in residential areas.

    Personally I have never even looked for an AirBNB (have thousands of nights in hotels and have used VRBO for, mainly, beach vacations.

  8. I do not use AirBnB because of what property owners, greedy for increased rental income, have done to neighborhoods. Transients in and out, and housing costs for renters driven through the roof, if even there are decent places available for rent.

  9. Did a staycation at a hotel recently and the room was fine, but shortly afterwards we noticed the toilet had problems flushing. Called the front desk and the manager came up (wearing a mask) to check/fix the toilet. After 10 minutes of working on it, he said it needed replacing and that he would move us into another room. Five minutes later he returned with key cards to the room next door. The rest of our stay was great, including a decent free breakfast. Good luck with any of that at an AirBnB.

  10. Is that data apples-to-apples? For example, are many people searching for a hotel in Cincinnati via Google, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Kayak, etc. rather than Marriott.com? Are you counting them looking at 40 different AirBNBs as 10 times the traffic of viewing 4 Marriotts? How are “rooms” being defined: is an AirBNB that can accommodate 7 people on a couch, pull-out sofa, and queen bed the same as 7 single hotel rooms?
    That said, AirBNB tends to beat hotels on short stays for 1-2 people (a $20 couch to crash) or long stays (week-long vacation home). As people decide to get more from their money and/or more from their experience, they’re more likely to look beyond hotels. I wouldn’t expect that will influence those with a company paying for their lodging or those who prioritize predictability (i.e. being able to move to another room).
    Hotels probably won’t miss short stays much: they’re the most labor intensive to clean, check in, etc. They have the travel-focused locations by airports and convention centers. The longer stays may hurt.
    When talking about company valuation, we should also just recognize that shiny new stocks are a bubble. People didn’t invest in Tesla because they made cars.

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