With the ongoing strength of the entire travel industry - (see airline pricing and policies) and the continued sellers' market of the hotel industry caused by increased demand (specifically Asia) still outpacing development supply, do current travelers stand a chance of surviving hotel strategies rapidly approaching airline customer service policies?
One possibility of leveling the field is Airbnb. Since I'm not a 'people person' wanting to chat with strangers, I've only used Airbnb on rare occasions (exclusively when traveling alone with the need to be closer to a locale than Marriott offers, like Wrigley Field). For long vacations, I have had successful stays with VRBO, but have started viewing Airbnb's entire property rentals.
Once again, just like at Marriott, I am not the target audience, but I am pulling for the enormously capitalized Airbnb to compete against the hotel chains (many who act in lockstep when it comes to pricing and benefits), grabbing some of their substantial market share in hopes of bringing the chains back down to earth regarding customer service, slowing down the airline style nickel and diming of the consumer.
The more the Hotel Association and their CEOs bark about legislation of Airbnb (which coincidentally, I concur) the more optimistic I become that there may be some there, there. Here's an article (even I didn't read the whole thing, so if anyone does and finds something interesting, please point it out) highlighting why my hopes of a new source of competition could be on the horizon. Remember, we don't necessarily have to use them for them to have a positive impact on our travel, we (Insiders) just need other Marriott customers to use them .
Airbnb — the sharing-economy start-up born with a crash-on-my-couch informality — is now trying to professionalize its more than two million “hosts” around the world.
Travelers accustomed to hotels have come to expect that they can automatically book an Airbnb without having to ask first for the owner’s permission — something that has long been a fixture of the hotel booking process. They anticipate hosts will act like hotel staff members, courteous and blending into the background.
As a result, Airbnb’s hosts have had to deal with more rules, fees and guidelines. Many have taken on responsibilities that would be handled at the front desk of a hotel. They are grappling with new tools that let travelers instantly book Airbnbs, much like a hotel reservation system.
Airbnb cannot force homeowners who use its site to adopt its tools and policies; they are not full-time employees. But interviews with more than two dozen hosts showed many felt pressured to comply. The lesson, Ms. Bishop said, is that Airbnb wants her spare bedroom to be more like a Hilton or a Hyatt, and for her to act like a mini-hotelier.
Airbnb’s shift has divided its host community. Some are embracing the changes around instant booking and appealing to business travelers. Mark Scheel, 42, a software engineer who runs a monthly meetup for Airbnb hosts in Denver, began renting out his ski condo on Airbnb five years ago. He just bought a second vacation condo because the first was occupied by Airbnb guests all the time.
Driving the changes is Airbnb’s chief executive, Brian Chesky, who has said the company ultimately wants to go into many different fields — perhaps even “one day redefine how we fly.”