Service industries have been completely transformed in the last five years–from transportation to food delivery, technology is changing how we live and the ways in which we spend our hard earned money. This change is providing consumers with more choice and flexibility than ever before.
Despite the opportunities, this new world has negatively impacted on many companies with traditional business models, and they’re struggling to keep up. Hotel and other accommodation providers are among the hardest hit.
The incredible uptake and popularity of peer-to-peer platform Airbnb has challenged the traditional hotel model and forced big brands to rethink their offerings. It’s estimated that almost half of Airbnb demand comes from hotels.
So how should hotels compete in this new world?
Know Your Consumer
Hotels first need to understand why people are choosing this new way to travel. What’s the appeal of this this lodging type?
The most obvious reason is that it is a cost-effective alternative. A new Consumer Reports survey reports that 70% of people who have used Airbnb chose it to save money. More than 50% cited “unique accommodations” or “availability of kitchens” as an influencing factor in their decision. Almost all respondents, 90% in fact, rated their experience either “good” or “very good.”
Hotels can benefit from conducting their own customer analysis, surveying what amenities guests value the most and then plan to work towards actioning.
Personal Touches & Stellar Service
Outstanding service and personalised touches are a great way to stand out from other establishments. Airbnb have a reputation for being responsive to queries or issues, but hotels have the face-to-face advantage. Hence, it’s essential that hotel staff are consistently committed to exceptional customer service and standards of quality.
Get with the times
Traditionally. travellers sought out consistency and home comforts while travelling to new places. They knew that a Hilton in Sydney would be very similar to a Hilton in Hong Kong. Nowadays, travellers want to discover the local culture and be immersed in the exciting experience.
Feeling like you’re ‘living’ in a new city, even for just a few days, is far easier when you have the amenities you would expect at home. Hotels can replicate this experience by changing up the room options available to guests. Differentiating the decor of the rooms, providing a stocked kitchen and offering alternative amenities can draw the attention of the changing needs of travellers.
Local knowledge and neighbourhood pride
Airbnb hosts are often homeowners who have chosen to live in this location. They come equipped to share their love and knowledge of the area with guests.
There’s no reason your staff can’t hold the same knowledge or enthusiasm for local happenings. Hire locals to work your front desk, or have team outings to get to really know the area your hotel is surrounded by. Guests are looking for a unique experience and any hidden gems you can help them discover, with reflect favourably on your team.