The hotel business is booming. New hotels are springing up all over the world, and average room rates are creeping north. But there’s a powerful force that may disrupt the hospitality industry sooner rather than later.
Blame it on Airbnb.com, the web site that lets anyone list their home, condo, or extra room on the Internet for rent.
Vikram Singh specializes in innovative uses of new technology, and he recently took a look at some stats that Airbnb released.
The web site now has half-a-million properties on offer worldwide.
In the nine months alone, five million people have found a place to stay on the road using Airbnb. Every night, 150,000 people are sleeping in a bed they booked on Airbnb.
The numbers just keep growing, and they represent a lot of travelers who would otherwise be staying in hotels and motels.
Singh says travelers are making lodging decisions less and less on the basis of brand names and more and more on reviews, location, service, and value. With Airbnb, guests often make a personal connection with their host. Can you name the desk clerk who checked you into your last hotel? And Airbnb’s neighborhood guides offer another personal touch.
The hotel industry ought to be worried, and recent moves to make unlicensed home stays illegal in New York City, Spain, and France indicate they are.