What Hotels Have Over Airbnb

Hank Freid, CEO and founder of the Impulsive Group, believes that hotels still have a leg up on Airbnb and provide unforgettable experiences that alternative accommodations can’t. Although it may be beneficial for hotels to pair up with companies and vacation rentals like Airbnb, Freid sat down with LODGING to discuss why he believes that hotels can offer unique experiences that differ from alternatives.

What are the most impactful strategies hotels are using to combat Airbnb and alternative accommodations? From my observations, guests appreciate options, convenience and personalization. To be the first choice for travelers’ stay, we’ve increased amenities, services and standards. Not only do we want to offer guests a place to sleep, but we want to give them an unforgettable experience. For example, hotels are creating mobile apps to act as the room’s remote, room key or 24-hour concierge. Alternative accommodations cannot compete with providing the best and most options possible.

As Airbnb continues to grow and become popular with everyday travelers, will hotels remain in the forefront of guests’ minds? As long as hotels can offer amenities and services that Airbnb can’t, the hotel industry will remain in the forefront of guests’ minds especially in the business and luxury hospitality space.


We see some hotel companies joining the alternative lodging game by offering vacation rentals – or in AccorHotels’ case, acquiring HomeAway. Will this trend of joining them rather than trying to beat them continue? It makes sense for some hotel companies to offer vacation rentals. Depending on the hotel group or the location, it may work in their favor to join forces with alternative accommodations. But in other destinations, competition is inevitable.

What sets hotels apart as alternative accommodations become more prominent in the lodging space? With alternative accommodations, guests will never have to worry about a 24-hour concierge, which most hotels offer. The interaction between the guest and customer service providers is also a huge part in making the experience unforgettable. Personally, I’ve had guests send thank-you letters because of the friendly engagement they’ve had with staff members.

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  1. First of all, the original idea behind Airbnb is already obsolete or is it not? It was supposed to be about sharing and staying in somebody’s place. Now it is often competition for the likes of Home Away, ie. fully professional holiday apartments and not somebody’s place who is not at home for the weekend. As is proven by the battles Airbnb is fighting with many city administrations around the globe, because apartments that were originally designed as tenements, disappear from that market. I am convinced this will be a much bigger problem for Airbnb in the future.
    This will ultimately also drive away some customers from Airbnb, because it is becoming very mainstream. And I agree, from a certain traveller’s point of view, they cannot compete with what hotels have to offer. So it will be an alternative for some, but be no alternative for many.

  2. Consistency is the most important detail Hotels have over Airbnb. This is why it is so important that hotels maintain a certain level of quality. If your using Airbnb to travel for business, your in for a surprise.

    Whenever I stay at a Hilton or Marriott, there is a certain consistency of quality. There is always someone to greet you and help you with the little things. You know the towels are nice, and the hot water works.

    With Airbnb “business ready”, you end up many times looking for a key on a dark porch, under a frog or something. So now your sleeping in an apartment or house full of someone else’s belongings. How’s that night of sleep going to work for you? Especially with an early morning meeting….. breakfast, sorry, not happening until you hit the road….

    When I am consulting, hotel owners will bring up the Airbnb issue, I immediately ask them how are they maintaining their consistency of quality standards? Airbnb can not ensure standards the way hotel owners can. It’s a good niche, use it…

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