What we can learn from Airbnb

Monica Or, columnist and Hospitality Consultant at Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy discusses how looking at what our competitors are doing can improve our own guest experiences..

We are now well and truly in to the festive season. We look forward as the year draws to a close, as all we really want to do now is take a breath, sit back and relax before it all starts again in the New Year. Although “if we always do what we have always done we will always get what we have always got”.

Taking time out to see what our competitors are doing can highlight some of the ways in which we can adapt our own offering. Let’s take Airbnb as an example. From their popularity it is clear that customer needs and expectations are changing. For the more independent guest why would they want to stay with an Airbnb property rather than your hotel?

Airbnb at first was seen as a threat to many in the hotel industry, although many hoteliers can learn from what this company has done to improve their own offering. It is no longer a case of using Airbnb to stay in someone’s spare room when all the hotels in the local area are full. You can now rent out whole apartments and even castles. According to Hotelsmag.com (2015) Boutique Hotels are now listing their rooms on Airbnb as they only charge 3% compared to the 10%-25% charges from other online travel agents.

According to Airbnb (2015) below shows what their guests look for:
– A great location with information on local amenities and how to get to them by walking, local transport options and how and where to buy tickets for this
– Parking – always an asset if you have this available, preferably onsite and free
– Honesty about noise levels – if you know you have a noise problem, pre warn them. Let them know what you have done to combat this such as provide ear plugs
– Guidance on how to use utilities and electronics – provide manuals and clear instructions on how to use the washing machine, dish washer, TV if you are unable to show them
– Clarity on amenities – if you have a swimming pool but it is located in another block be sure to mention this. For Wifi ensure you give the code and password and what to do if the signal drops out.
– Realistic photos – it is great to have lovely photos showing off your establishment although ensure they are a true image of what will be expected. If your rooms vary in size make this clear, or you will have all your guests expecting a luxurious king bed in every room.

Top Tip – Visit your competition. Think about what you would want as a guest staying at a hotel. Does your hotel live up to this, or are there small changes you can make that will make a world of difference to your guest’s experience?

About Monica Or: As the founder of Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy, Monica specialises in working operationally with the owner/managers of independent hotels and restaurants focusing on their business structure and service delivery. She is the author of ‘Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business’ an Amazon best seller.
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