ONLINE HOTEL BOOKING TREND 7 – 2017: The sharing economy model has made such an impact that it is increasingly being referred to as Uberisation – an alignment of supply and demand in a free internet enabled market.
It is important, however, to look beyond Uber and AirBnB and identify the underlying reasons for the success of the shared economy model. And to identify how related areas are evolving.
Only then can hotels respond creatively and leverage its power rather than dread the decline in occupancy and average rates.
The consumer need
One of the main drivers of the shared economy is the ability it provides owners or managers to monetise excess or idle inventory. And buyers can take a practical approach to prioritising access over ownership. An equally important element is technology – access to people or other resources requires “portability”.
What is driving change?
Increased movement of people and goods around the world and growth in smartphone usage and access to wi-fi is driving change and act as catalysts for the sharing economy.
The massive growth explosion in companies like Uber and AirBnB has sparked interest and innovation.
Emerging customer expectations
Customers seek instant gratification and seamless interactions with companies they interact with. Uber’s outstanding efforts in its user interface and seamless processes have set the bar when it comes to the sharing economy.
Are they delivering on expectations?
Many sharing economy companies have failed. The sharing economy works well in cities as there should be enough population density for a sharing economy business model to achieve scale.
This analysis of a parking service in New York comes to the conclusion that it is challenging for companies to do what Uber did.
Businesses applying this trend
Despite the obvious challenges, several niche hotel booking companies inspired by AirBnB and Uber’s shared economy model success have emerged. Some of them are very similar while others leverage a related customer need.
Room Storm offers to protect your brand from the negative effects of overbooking
Other travel related areas where Uberisation has taken off include
Aviation: Blade is a short distance aviation company. Its app allows users to launch their own crowdsourced charter or book individual seats on flights already created.
Russia-based metasearch engine Aviasales has collaborated with private jet search platform JetHunter to start including its unfilled segments in search results for flights returning to base. Jetsmarter connects members to idle jets and unused seats around the world.
Cookening allows you to attend or host home cooked meals and meet people from all over the world.
Swift, a new Uber-like taxi app, is run and owned by drivers themselves.
Car pooling, renting a car and parking at a house are possible through companies like AmigoExpress, GetAround, Parkatmyhouse, RelayRide or Zimride.
Trend potential and takeaway
Despite challenges, the sharing economy is here to stay. Economics dictates it – so does the customer. And hotels are adapting.
Hotel Schani in Vienna brings co-working to its lobby.
Hyatt experimented with Hyatt has it! and Marriott collaborated with Liquidbookings to sell unused meeting space.
W hotels partnered with Desksnearme and Candlewood suites have the lending locker initiative.
The CNN article “Smart business hotels where work meets play” lists a range of different hotels across the world which builds on the sharing economy.
The sharing economy brings challenges and opportunities. The innovative hotel companies will use the opportunities to strengthen their brand proposition and add value to their guests.
Partnerships and collaboration with third-party companies will need to go beyond the traditional models and extend into a true understanding of guest needs and catering to them.