retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Here's a number for you.

The New York Times reports that Airbnb "now has more than a million rooms available in homes, apartments and even former barns — more places to sleep than hotel giants like Marriott and Hilton."

Yikes.

The Times goes on to note that "despite this growth, though, the big hotel chains, at least outwardly, have yet to take substantial action to counter the potential threat from the upstart lodging service." In part, that's because the travel market is strong, and the major chains say Airbnb has not had any measurable impact on their revenue.

However, the Times writes that while chains may seem sanguine, "hotels are taking some actions as the service grows more popular. Hospitality industry representatives are asking for laws requiring Airbnb properties to adhere to the same safety standards that hotels do. Airbnb said it required hosts to follow their local laws and encouraged all hosts to take some basic steps to keep their homes safe."

And small hotels are taking a different approach - they're joining Airbnb.

One thing strikes me as certain. If hotels don't think that Airbnb is competition, they're making a mistake ... and at the very least, they ought to be thinking about the qualities that make the service successful.

It'll be an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: