Airbnb Inc. is largely known for cheap accommodations and the occasional awkwardness that comes with staying in someone else’s home. Now the company wants to broaden its appeal by incorporating what has long been seen as the enemy: hotels.
Airbnb is currently one of the world’s leading platforms for travel lovers that are seeking affordable accommodation. Historically Airbnb has focused exclusively on vacation property rental but now the firm has announced plans offer hotel accommodations in order to make the service more mainstream.
Not just any hotel will be eligible to be included on the platform however. Strict selection criteria will be used based on suitability and only hotels that offer a unique user experience will be considered to partner with Airbnb.
This new strategy is designed to both diversify revenue generation as well as neutralise the negativity the company has experienced in various cities such as Paris and Madrid with its traditional online vacation rental service.
In order to ratify an agreement within the hotel sector, Airbnb has signed an agreement with SiteMinder, which is the company that has designed the technology required to connect users with hotels to check availability and room prices in real time.
Although Airbnb has let hotels and bed-and-breakfasts quietly list on its website for years, the company’s new business model gives the clearest indication that hotels are an essential piece of Airbnb’s strategy to create a full-service travel company.
If successful the move is expected to attract business from online travel agencies Expedia Inc. and Booking Holdings Inc., formerly known as Priceline Group. Because Airbnb is charging much lower commission fees, it could be very effective.
The news comes as competition intensifies between traditional hotels and Airbnb. In February Airbnb announced it would expand its “experiences” offerings to an additional 1,000 cities.