It’s undeniable — the sharing economy is rattling the hotel industry. OneFineStay being bought up by Accor Hotels in April this year sent shockwaves. The acquisition set a signal that these new hospitality models are here to stay. And just last week, Wyndham bought German apartment rental site Wimdu. Having worked in the hotel industry, we understand the threats and challenges these newer models are posing. But what might hotels learn from these disruptors? We’ve summarised our top tips here:
1. Plug into technology in a meaningful way
Let’s be honest, is offering 12 light switches on a touch-panel and an iPod speaker really moving the needle for guests? We’re seeing some much more meaningful tech integrations: Many of The Plum Guide’s properties come with a Netflix account preloaded on the TV and OneFineStay’s guests benefit from an iPhone with local sim while staying at one of their apartments.
2. Give guests the local lowdown
At Oasis Collections, guests can access exclusive special deals with the best hair salons and gym studios in town. And Airbnb recently launched Experiences, a functionality that allows you to book authentic local experiences when travelling. How about a French cheese crawl on your next Paris trip?
3. Be upfront about your shortcomings
This might be controversial but in the age of Tripadvisor, anybody can find out that your hotel’s rooms are tiny or not actually right by the beach. So The Plum Guide’s properties list their downsides instead of reviews in an attempt to set ‘objective’ expectations. A little honesty doesn’t hurt!
4. Celebrate the people behind the brand
Does our digital world create to more connection or alienation? I believe that a big part of Airbnb’s success comes from its ethos of ‘creating belonging’ in the world. Every host and guest uploads a photo and introduces themselves to the community. Reviews from actual visitors with real profile pages build trust. Many hotels underestimate or simply forget to talk about the team behind the brand.
We recently wrote a thought-piece on branding in hospitality, which involved analysing hundreds of boutique hotels from around the world. We are running a series of webinars to present our findings — to book a free spot, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org