Saturday 18 November 2017
 
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Voivenel at the conference

Private holiday rentals top preference for travellers

DUBAI, October 18, 2017

Hotels and serviced apartments are slowly losing out to private holiday rentals, which have become increasingly popular since the start of Airbnb, as research shows that one in three leisure travellers use private accommodations.

Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice president, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International, spoke today at HSMAI Middle East Conference in Dubai on ‘Convergence and Synergies’ between hotels, serviced apartments and Airbnb.

Since its start, the impact of Airbnb on hotels, online travel agents (OTAs) and house rents has been phenomenal especially in gateway cities and other popular holiday destinations. Laurent said: “Globally one third of all accommodation bookings are made online. Every transaction on Airbnb means a loss of revenue for hotels or OTAs. However, Airbnb is not an enemy, they have only been smart to create something that we hoteliers should have thought of. We are simply in an era of shared economy where in the last 20 years we have seen many disruptions in our industry by a number of non-traditional hotel players and Airbnb is one of them.”

Laurent believes Airbnb and hotels complement each other and help to grow and diversify tourism in a destination giving more choice to travellers. He stressed: “A lot of boutique hotels are using Airbnb just the way they use OTA platforms. Typically OTAs charge hotels 15-25 per cent fee per reservation while Airbnb charges flat 10 per cent commission from hosts on every booking. So any hotel that needs to fill up rooms can benefit from Airbnb as one of their marketing arms.”

Ninety per cent of Airbnb revenue stems from personal stays and 10 per cent from business travellers. However, business travel is a segment growing rapidly on Airbnb. Laurent said: “Today over 250,000 companies use Airbnb for business when in 2015 only 250 companies travelled with Airbnb. Now, Airbnb lets you search for properties that are ‘Business Travel Ready’ and equipped with essentials like internet, workspace with laptop, 24/7 self-check-in, fitness facilities, etc. So it is definitely another area where Airbnb is going to grow fast in addition to new developments such as Airbnb Trips and the recently announced Airbnb’s home-hotel hybrid in Florida.”

Some of the key factors for growth of Airbnb have been accommodations at any price point, privacy, anonymity, well-located homes with kitchen facilities, diversity of products and authenticity of experiences. Laurent said: “Hotel brands are recognising guests want a more genuine experience reflective of local culture and we are seeing emergence of more socially-oriented hotel brands offering homier settings and more functional spaces. There has also been a strong focus on providing what millennial travellers expect in terms of connectivity and product.”

Laurent concluded: “There are lot of areas such as safety, quality and service standards where hotels score over products on Airbnb or even serviced apartments run by small local independent operators. Also, an advantage we hoteliers have is we see the clients and have a direct relation with them which Airbnb or OTAs don’t since their business is virtual and they don’t have people on the ground. Let’s embrace those guests if we are to keep them by offering them great value for money and building relations.” - TradeArabia News Service
 




Tags: hotels | Private | rental | apartment | Holiday | Airbnb | preference | serviced |

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