Online marketing and hospitality service Airbnb is providing a new range of services to attract those travelers interested in traditional hotels and luxury accommodations. According to Reuters, Airbnb recently began hosting new categories to make it easier for bed-and-breakfasts and boutique hotels to list available rooms on its website in an effort to increase sales.
While parts of the travel industry are making headway with new vegan-friendly vacations, Airbnb was forced to slash many of its listings in more popular cities due to accusations of exacerbating tight housing markets.
“Airbnb [is] figuring out how [to]… grow at the same levels that investors are expecting [the hospitality industry] to grow, given some of the regulatory headwinds,” said Christopher Anderson, a professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.
Anderson has said in the past that the hospitality industry has failed to keep up with an evolving market and Airbnb’s recent hiccups have mostly proven this to be correct.
However, to increase revenue, Airbnb is now not only evolving but also challenging traditional hotels in their own market.
On Thursday, February 22, Airbnb began specifying its listings as hotels or homes and also began providing greater guidance for certain travelers such as newlyweds. Additionally, the website created another category for quality and cleanliness.
But why the sudden switch to hotels when Airbnb had originally been all about the home-trading experience?
Although many Americans have opted not to use their vacation days, as many as 92% of American employees value their vacation time. And that’s just employees. Up to 500,000 young adults around the world, including the U.S., have traveled to Israel on a Birthright trip.
So if interest in vacationing isn’t the problem, what is? As it turns out, it’s the need for success.
Airbnb, like many startup companies, has come close to failure on its rise to corporate glory. In fact, it wasn’t until 2017 that Airbnb saw its first year of profitability. With a more difficult regulatory climate and an increase in company size, Airbnb has been forced to make bigger changes.
However, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky isn’t worried in the slightest. In an interview with USA Today, he said, “There’s going to be another economy and it will be the experience economy. You’ll see these modern-day, bite-sized apprenticeships, where you’re exposed to something new.”
Chesky may very well be right. With millennials as the largest generation since the baby boomer generation and Gen Z soon entering adulthood, the hospitality industry could be seeing a major shift. “I purposefully held the growth back,” said Chesky. “Because I wanted it to be amazing.”