Many of us have started to consider Airbnb as a viable alternative to booking a traditional hotel room when we travel. This has been a big issue for larger hotel chains, and it has been estimated that Airbnb has caused almost $1 billion in disruption revenue last year. Not surprisingly, the hotel industry has started efforts to fight back.
Fortune discusses some of these efforts that the hotel industry has taken in order to push back against Airbnb. Some of these efforts include:
- Funding research to demonstrate that some Airbnb operators are illegally renting out rooms. The American Hotel & Lodging Association funded research by Penn State University. In the study, they found that nearly 30% ($378 million) of Airbnb’s revenue in 12 of the nation’s largest metropolitan statistical areas came from “full-time operators,” with rentals available 360 days a year. Of course to the hotel industry, this comes across as if the properties are “illegal” hotels, rather than a room or a unit that is rented out from time to time. Similar to complaints about ridesharing practices, these “hotels” then are operating outside of the normal hotel regulatory framework.
- Hotel chains are specifically targeting millennials who are likely to use Airbnb. For example, Hilton Hotels recently announced the launch of their Tru by Hilton brand, which matches the “a millennial mindset” that Airbnb users are likely to be of. Some of the features that are designed to appeal to the Airbnb target audience at Tru by Hilton include bigger TVs and better programming, an updated check-in process with social media displays, and consistent use of digital keys. Similarly, Marriott has also been busy expanding its Moxy brand, a new hotel chain “created especially for the millennial traveler.”
- The hotel industry has also lobbied for laws that would slow or stop the growth of Airbnb by restricting homes and apartments that can be listed on the service. In June 2015, the American Hotel & Lodging Association made a presentation at a Federal Trade Commission workshop on the sharing economy in which it discussed the operation of “illegal” hotels that were available for much of the year, that were simply operating without a proper license to stay open. called out Airbnb for having “certain obligations” that, it suggested, were not being met. The hotel industry also supported San Francisco’s Proposition F, which would have limited vacation rentals to 75 days a year, though this measure was defeated in November 2015.
How do you feel about Airbnb and their relationship with major hotel chains?