Inn Consultants and Brokers Since 1993

Rick Wolf and Peter Scherman (that’s Rick on the left and Peter on the right) are both experienced speakers who have presented on a range of innkeeping related topics at the state, regional, and national level. They gather and analyze research for the Innkeeping industry and welcome the opportunity to share it with others. Contact Us

The B&B Team
 

Posts Tagged ‘Airbnb’

New Generation of Travelers-Age or Mindset?

March 26th, 2015 by Janet Wolf

new generation of traveller age or mindset

Sitting at an airport, reading the March issue of Business Traveler and found an article entitled ‘More Than a Bed’. This got my attention. Harvey Chipkin, the author of this article states; “A booming lodging industry is in the midst of a diversification whirlwind as it targets a new generation of travelers that might be defined by age, mindset or craving for experience.” The B&B Team has blogged, posted articles and spoken at conferences on this subject of the ‘new generation of travelers.’ This booming lodging industry includes B&B, small hotels, boutique motels, the entire gamut of the choices offered by the independent small lodging industry. Are we giving these new travelers what they are craving?

Mr. Chipkin goes on to say that the sameness in hotels has become a negative. Our Inns certainly do not have ‘sameness’. And the experience and the emotional connection with our guests is what we are all about. The hotel industry is working hard and fast to create uniqueness in their décor, more personalized service and offering experiences. They are creating their ‘lifestyle’ brands at a rapid pace. Our industry cannot afford to stand still and watch.

So what can we do to compete and keep up with this whirlwind?

  • Keep up with technology. That can include a fresh website that is optimized and responsive. Ease of booking on mobile site is a must. Places to plug in, guest rooms as well as common rooms. Many travelers want or need to be connected at all times for business even while on vacation!

 

  • Social Media. It is important to be involved with as many sites as possible. If you are engaged than you appear relevant. Don’t skimp on your marketing budget, you know the big guys aren’t.

 

  • Update your décor. The old mindset that a B&B is like staying in your grandma’s house is still out there. We must work hard and fast to squelch that mindset.

 

  • Keep an open mind. The explosion of the sharing economy like Airbnb is here and not going away. Many millennials will go to Airbnb to book their lodging. They may not go on or even know about the traditional B&B booking sites. Something to think about. Bashar Wali, president of Provenance Hotels, a small group of boutique hotels, “Airbnb is here to stay; it forces us to be better and offer local authentic experiences.”

 

  • Food is huge. Lighter fare options for breakfast, grab n go for the early riser, afternoon small plates or small bites that are creative and a wow. Liquor license for wine, beer tastings or signature cocktails, why not.

 

  • Stay connected. Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals mission statement is to “…support independent hospitality professionals to succeed beyond their expectation.” The group of supporters  is growing. Advocacy, education and networking will be the focus. We all need that.

mindset or age

So is it age or mindset? Yes we want to attract the millennial, they are our next large demographic of traveler. But the older traveler who wants to feel young, that is the mindset. Love this quote from the article; “We all want to feel that we’re still hip, we’re still in. And we’re talking about people in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s”. That’s me, how about you?

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Airbnb – In the Air or Your Backyard?

October 9th, 2012 by Janet Wolf

[365] 073

Great experience,NOT.

There was a recent thread on the PAII Forum initiated by Scott Thomas, innkeeper at the Brewster House Bed and Breakfast in Freeport, Maine. Quoting Scott; “Just received a solicitation to become a member of Airbnb (for “free”). …they offered to create a free listing for us, then we could log in and change things.” This really got my attention. I didn’t realize they were soliciting legitimate lodging businesses. What next, door to door solicitation in residential neighborhoods? Here is a bit of background on this groundbreaking ‘collaborative consumption’ business.

Airbnb was born in September ’08 and has grown in leaps and bounds. Just like the concept of Airbnb is troubling to the hospitality industry, its growth is scarier. They are in 192 countries and 24,693 cities. The statistics change daily but the latest from their website claims 10 million nights booked since their conception. Their recent bad publicity, (a host’s property was trashed), is being addressed aggressively. They make it very clear to all about their 1 million dollar insurance guarantee for their renter client’s assurance. It sounds like they are really trying to cover their proverbial derriere big time. Here is a statement from their website. “Please note that Airbnb assumes no responsibility for a host’s compliance with any applicable laws, rules and regulations.” So who is responsible? Who gets blamed when things go wrong?

Here is the problem as I see it and I am sure most innkeepers will agree. Airbnb is getting away with murder. The website is slick and professional and the process of booking is streamline, so nothing appears illegal or problematical on the surface. I hope legitimate bed and breakfasts innkeepers don’t get enticed. Scott Thomas certainly wasn’t. He received a follow up email stating they had created a draft listing for his approval and stated he can edit it at any time and quote:”If you like the listing, we can make it appear in search results allowing people to discover the Brewster House.” Again the process for the host property appears to be slick and streamlined as well.

The legality of Airbnb has been speculated on and addressed by municipalities since its beginning but what is disturbing is that it not only continues to operate but thrives. Cities like San Francisco (where the company’s headquarters are) are actively attempting to deal with the problem. They know that Airbnb represents a loophole and that the owners of the host properties listed on thier site fall under the city’s definition of a bed and breakfast, and thus are breaking the law. From their statement on their website,”…they assume no responsibility for a host’s compliance with any applicable laws.” So again we ask the question, who gets blamed and in turn gets punished? As in many cases when a powerful  phenomenon like Airbnb prevails and prospers the law abiding businesses often suffer. We have seen it happen in New York City. Last May Jay Karen testified on behalf of the B&B industry before the New York State Assembly Committee on Housing with a NYC innkeeper, Vanessa Milando. Like San Francisco NYC is attempting to crack down on the illegal ‘hotels’ operating outside the perimeter of state regulations. All good on the surface but in the process the legitimate B&B’s in the city were fined a very large and punitive amount of money. Please read the press release detailing Jay’s involvement and testimony in this case.

Airbnb claims they will work closely with city and town officials and here is their unbelievable spin on why ‘collaborative consumption’ is good for municipalities and consumers. “Airbnb seamlessly integrates travelers into a neighborhood’s existing infrastructure, relieving congestion in tourist zones and distributing their economic impact to new neighborhood economies – which is a win-win for residents and businesses in those areas.”

Ask any innkeeper and I believe they would love a share of that tourist ‘congestion’ on their reservation books! Also what about the tourist who prefers to stay in a ‘tourist zone’, it is called a destination location. And about the win-win, all on the side of Airbnb in my opinion. So be alert and fasten your seatbelts, there may be a bit of Airbnb turbulance coming.

Recent article on the issue worth reading. Read more on the subject.

Thanks for listening

Janet Wolf

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