As it stands today, hotels are not particularly concerned with Airbnb, the on-demand accommodation service that lets individuals rent out their empty spaces. Some regulators have taken caution with the new firm, which launched operations in 2008, and the debate continues as to whether Airbnb bookings should face a hotel tax.
While Airbnb has caught the attention of travelers and regulators alike, there is one surprising segment that is not yet too bothered by the service: traditional hotels. According to reports, hotel spending is on target to reach figures higher than last year, and older travelers are largely in the habit of turning to traditional hotels to book their accommodation.
Choice Hotels International chief executive Steve Joyce recently told the Financial Review that he has not seen any impact of Airbnb on the business of the hotels he runs. Similarly, InterContinental Hotels Group Owners Association chairman Kerry Ranson said he does not view Airbnb has a legitimate competitor.
Business travelers, however, could begin to instill fear in the hearts of these traditional hotels.
The use of Airbnb to book business travel accommodation took off last year when the company partnered with travel and expense management service Concur. The collaboration lets Airbnb bookings land directly on business expense reports.
According to some experts, it’s the ease and money-saving attributes of Airbnb that could pull the business into a position that threatens the dominance of traditional hotel chains.
This competition could be good news for business travelers in more ways than one, reports said. Financial Review cited a recent study by Boston University that found the greater supply of open rooms provided by Airbnb has led to declines in hotel costs in some markets.
Authorities’ efforts to regulate Airbnb, reports added, is a direct result in some cases of hotels asking those officials to adopt legislation that makes Airbnb adhere to the same laws as hotels do, including safety regulations.