For the past few years, hoteliers and the American rental giant Airbnb have been engaged in a fierce battle. Indeed, hoteliers accuse Airbnb of unfair competition and stealing their customers.
A little reminder about Airbnb
Airbnb is a paid community platform for renting and booking accommodation between individuals founded in 2008 in the United States. Quite simply, if you have an empty room at home, or if you wish to make your accommodation available while you are away, Airbnb offers you to post an offer on their platform for tourists from all over the world. Thus, renting a room on the other side of the world becomes as simple as buying a train ticket!
After raising billions of dollars several times and after an IPO, Airbnb is considered by many experts to be the #1 hotelier in the world.
Why all this tension?
The origins of the tensions between hoteliers and Airbnb are numerous and do not seem to find solutions despite the intervention of public authorities.
Hoteliers accuse the American giant of unfair competition. Indeed, hoteliers have to bear many more charges than individuals. The operating costs are not the same and hotel managers must pay VAT on each service sold. While many individuals offer rooms that are cheaper than those of hotels, the latter denounce a leveling of the market by the bottom, because they cannot afford to lower their rates indefinitely.
In France, the State intervenes in order to slow down this harmful practice for this sector. For example, an amendment to the bill for a Digital Republic forces tenants who want to sublet their accommodation on the platform to provide proof that they have permission, and some municipalities have decided to limit the number of nightsan individual can offer per year (usually 120).
In spite of all these measures, the tensions between the two actors of the hotel industry do not weaken.
Renewal and differentiation, a necessity for hotels
Hoteliers have understood that, faced with this American giant and the popularity of the population, they must reinvent themselves and offer new services to customers in order to differentiate themselves. In addition to the usual services not offered by Airbnb (i.e. cleaning and clean linen every day), some hotels offer excursions, tours of their region to make visitors discover it in an original and typical way.
For some “big” hotels, it is not so simple and they sometimes have tochange their business modelto survive. Thus more rooms are proposed, it is now easier to rent hotel rooms for your seminars, meetings, if you are a company. Some offer more and more their reception halls for rent for all (weddings, parties, etc.) and not only for companies.
Finally, some are making heavy investmentsto bring their hotel into the digital age, with 100% digital check-in, the provision of computers, a very high-speed connection and work rooms equipped for business travel.