Hotel insiders worry about online bookings, Airbnb

Is Airbnb a structural challenge to the hotel industry?
A panel of hotel industry insiders recently discussed how mobile bookings and new challenges such as Airbnb are affecting business. Some executives think Airbnb is a structural challenge to the industry, but others think it is not sustainable.
“We’re still stuck in the Stone Age,” said Shai Zelering, managing director of operations and asset management for Thayer Lodging and Brookfield Hotel Properties. He was speaking at a panel called “Disruption 2020: The digital marketplace” at the Revenue Strategy Summit in Washington DC.
Instead of investing in new technologies, hoteliers are more obsessed with new guestroom amenities, he said.
The speakers identified two major challenges that need hotels’ immediate attention. Firstly, mobile, and the technological changes driving it.
How to address the problem that many guests now book rooms via an online travel agency on their smartphone, while sitting in their car right outside. This is partly because they think they’re getting a better deal than anything offered by the hotel website or at the front desk.
The second major challenge is Airbnb and other sharing-economy platforms. As one insider puts it: “I’m warming to the idea that Airbnb is a structural threat to our industry in a way that perhaps many of us didn’t realize.”
The whole article can be read here.
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