Expert’s Voice: How can hoteliers win the booking war with Airbnb?

Max Starkov, hospitality tech guide and strategist, explains how resorts can see off the problem of Airbnb and win again friends in the post-Covid period.

There is little doubt that Airbnb has drastically disrupted the journey business and positioned itself as a singular purveyor of personal lodging worldwide. Late final 12 months, Airbnb accomplished its much-anticipated IPO [initial public offering] and now the firm’s market cap is over US$120 billion, greater than the mixed market caps of the prime seven resort chains: Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, IHG, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Choice Hotels International, Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Accor. 
In 2019, the final ‘regular’ 12 months in journey, Airbnb was capable of take 10-15% of journey demand in lots of main metropolitan areas and leisure locations. In 2020, Airbnb fared much better than many hoteliers as the travelling public most popular to remain at standalone, host-less lodging. 
Let’s face it, there’s a actual ‘booking war’ happening between resorts and Airbnb for each visitor and each room evening. Airbnb could have gained the 2020 occupancy battle, however hoteliers can beat Airbnb at its personal sport and in the end win the booking war. 
First ask: why do journey customers use Airbnb to start with?
To identify a number of: expectations for privateness and need to keep away from different travellers; facilities like kitchens, swimming swimming pools and get together patios; perceived worth and decrease value per member of the journey get together.
Hoteliers can’t match travellers’ expectations for privateness, however they can provide their very own vary of highly effective counterarguments and attractive advantages. Hoteliers ought to give attention to and promote options and facilities that Airbnb properties lack.
Here is a straightforward and cheap motion plan to assist your property just do that. 
Assess your property’s worth proposition
I imagine promoting on worth versus promoting on worth alone can compete in opposition to the attract of Airbnb’s properties – villas, weekend properties, condos. To accomplish that, hoteliers should bear in mind and relearn the way to promote on worth versus worth alone.
Start by researching Airbnb rental properties in your neighborhood. What are their typical facilities and options? Identify your property’s worth proposition and create a listing of  your property’s facilities, companies and attributes which can be higher than the common Airbnb in your space. 
Then, assessment and replace the property descriptions in your web site, social media profiles, CRS [customer relationship system] and WBE [website booking engine] descriptions, listing listings, GMB [Google My Business], and promotional supplies. 
Make certain to teach your employees about the key benefits your property has over Airbnbs in the space, from a greater location to no cleansing charges to higher cleanliness protocols and wifi and free breakfast. 
Offering higher worth
Promote cooking courses, weekend specials, coronavirus destressing packages, spa packages, household enjoyable packages, wine tastings, F&B packages and promotions, and so forth that you simply can use to focus on your native, short-haul and drive-in feeder markets.
Create and provide suite specials. If you have got rooms or suites with kitchenettes, fireplaces, whirlpool bathtubs, and so forth, promote them vigorously. Promote your suites and adjoining / related rooms for household journey and household reunions. 
One of the companies hoteliers usually overlook to advertise is their F&B, and particularly breakfast. Airbnb properties provide no breakfast and don’t dwell as much as the promise of the second ‘b’ in the Airbnb model identify! If your property provides free breakfast, advertise aggressively. 
Another nice service to brag about is early check-ins and late checkouts to accommodate visitor arrival and departure instances. At an Airbnb, it’s important to examine in at 4pm at the earliest and checkout at 11am at the newest. 
Winning on worth
Airbnb is seen as a more cost effective possibility than resorts, however this isn’t the case with at the moment’s resort ADRs, and particularly with the steep cleansing charges of $75-300 (!) Airbnb costs for each keep. Not charging cleansing charges is a big benefit that only a few resorts are profiting from at the moment. 
Start by introducing weekly and month-to-month charges for each rooms and suites. How many resorts provide charges for prolonged stays, that are favoured by journey customers in the present pandemic? A weekly fee will not be a day by day fee multiplied by seven, and a month-to-month fee will not be a nightly fee multiplied by 30! Make certain that your CRS, WBE and channel supervisor can help weekly and month-to-month charges. 
If you haven’t accomplished so, please look at and chill out your cancellation insurance policies. A ‘no questions requested’ no-fee cancellation coverage goes a good distance in these instances of nice uncertainty and is a particular aggressive benefit over Airbnb’s inflexible cancellation insurance policies. 
Promoting location
A giant attraction of Airbnb is that friends really feel like a neighborhood staying in non-public properties and flats. Combat this by delivering ‘dwell like a neighborhood’ messaging and creating packages that present friends with native eating, native hangouts and complimentary passes for public transportation or Uber.
Airbnb will not be all the time a secure possibility for travellers. Highlight your security and safety benefits on the property web site, social media, listing listings, and so forth.
Many resorts are situated in desired vacationer, cultural, leisure and enterprise centres, close to or at main transportation hubs. Feature your location on the homepage of your web site, CRS and WBE descriptions, characteristic it in your entire listing listings, in your social media profiles, and so forth. 
Vacation leases don’t seem when looking for lodging in Google Maps as a result of they aren’t thought-about a enterprise entity by Google. Use this to your benefit and optimise your Google My Business native itemizing, add images, property and amenity descriptions, monitor and reply to Google opinions, and so forth. 
Appealing on facilities
Hotels provide facilities which can be usually unavailable in Airbnb leases, together with spa companies, onsite eating, health centres, snug lobbies, convention and performance rooms for enterprise conferences, social occasions, formal and casual gatherings, and coworking areas. Plus: 

Reliable wifi / enterprise centres. One of the most undervalued resort facilities is the dependable high-speed wifi, which is the Achilles heel of any Airbnb property. Brag loudly about your property’s wifi speeds, whether or not 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps or a cool 1 Gbps! Airbnb usually doesn’t cost for wifi, so my suggestion is that your property shouldn’t be charging for wifi on this atmosphere! In 2021, charging for wifi is like charging for warm water or linens and towels. 
Cleanliness. Be certain to advertise your property’s skilled cleanliness protocols and the contactless visitor expertise – infrared fever detection units, clearly marked visitor pathways in public areas, availability of PPE [personal protective equipment] and disinfecting wipes, self-service and check-in kiosks, and so forth. Very few Airbnb properties use subtle cleanliness applied sciences.  
ADA and accessibility. Very few Airbnb lodging are ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act]-compliant. 
Baggage storage. Hotels usually provide baggage storage so friends can discover the vacation spot with out having to hold round heavy baggage; Airbnb hosts usually don’t provide this service. Promote your complimentary baggage storage info beneath facilities and companies.
Rewards programme. In spite of all of its claims, presently the Airbnb’s SuperGuest reward programme, launched three years in the past, remains to be in its infancy (and it appears they keep away from speaking about this programme of late). If your property has a reward programme or visitor appreciation programme in place, promote its advantages to the fullest in your WBE, CRS, and so forth, and even add new crisis-inspired advantages and perks. 

Marketing muscle
To fight the detrimental impact Airbnb has in your property’s backside line, you could put money into an efficient digital advertising and marketing technique. Ask your PR agency and digital advertising and marketing company to return up with ‘we’re higher than Airbnb’ PR, content material advertising and marketing and digital advertising and marketing plans, after which finance these plans and have them executed.
Following the technique outlined above, and advertising and marketing it correctly, will let you keep aggressive and win the booking war with Airbnb.
This is an edited model of an article that appeared on the Hotel Recovery web site.

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About the Author: Amanda