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.