SAN FRANSISCO, Calif. — According to the New York Times, Airbnb has set its sights on business travellers. Since it entered the scene in 2008, Airbnb has been the domain of leisure travellers. However, data from travel research firm, Phocuswright, shows 31 per cent of travellers who used Airbnb in the last two years, used it for business.
While the hotel industry has been keeping a watchful eye on Airbnb, so far, AccorHotels is the only property owner making an active effort to compete with Airbnb by acquiring Onefinestay, a London-based home-sharing service focused on the high-end market.
“This is a more challenging event in the history of the lodging industry than almost any other,” says Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor at the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism at New York University. “There are things that are happening at traditional lodging companies that are accelerating related to Airbnb, and that is less uniformity. Ten years ago, at a hotel in Honolulu and in New York, the art and decoration might be identical. We’ve seen brands recognize guests want a more genuine experience and a place that’s more reflective of local culture.”
Hoteliers say they have noted changes in consumer preferences, resulting in new social-oriented brands, homier settings and more functional apps.