How Hotels Can Continue to Stay On Top Despite the Changing Times
By Claire Repass Manager of Communications, Social Tables | August 30, 2015
There is no stopping the sharing economy train, and the route that conductors like AirBnb are navigating cut directly across the existing revenue paths laid by hotels. It's no longer an option to ignore the presence of the sharing economy, nor is it wise to fight against it. Managing the horizon of this rapidly changing marketplace, however, is where hotels will find their greatest strength.
By tailoring the consumer and corporate travel sectors with a personalized service strategy, and looking across the tracks at AirBnB's best practices, your hotel can both compete and flourish in light of the sharing economy.
Occupancy Rates On The Rise & The Consumer Hospitality Shakeup
To point out that hotels must rethink their sales and marketing strategies to compete with disruptive companies like AirBnB and HomeAway is akin to saying hotels must embrace online booking. Before this section gets cloudy for hotels, let's examine the good news for U.S. room nights:
- According to research published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The United States will retain its status as the world's largest travel & tourism economy in 2015. Projections say the sector will contribute over 8 percent of the GDP of the U.S., injecting $1,445 billion into the economy.
- STR and Hotel News Now reported that April saw the highest occupancy ever (66.8%), and the highest room demand ever (99.4m rooms)
- If these numbers continue pacing, 2015 will usher in the highest national occupancy rates since the first hotel occupancy report was published in 1987 by STR Inc.
Now for the challenging news: those room nights aren't just springing up from competing hotels, they're also coming from the sharing economy; AirBnB just announced they now manage over 1 million rooms. "So many rooms are coming online each month inventory is constantly growing, and new areas are springing up all the time," says Zabrina Hazelitine, CMP, CMM of Hamilton Group Meeting Planners, Inc. "It's difficult to narrow down the choices."
How does a hotel succeed in this age of disruption? How can you make the sharing economy work to your advantage while maintaining ground against your traditional competition?