Why should my hotel be on Airbnb?
Airbnb was born in 2007 when Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia did not have enough money to pay the rent for their apartment. Under the concept of “airbed and breakfast” they decided to launch a small website hoping to host a guest during a design convention that was taking place in their city. During this small experiment, they managed to receive 3 guests who paid $80 per night, thus managing to pay the rent.
Since that time, 14 years have passed. What began as an idea to obtain additional income has become a company valued at more than 31 Billion dollars and has become a highly competitive place that requires professionalization in its management to achieve the results that hotels want from a sales channel that generates more than 2.6 billion dollars in revenue.
In this blog, we will analyze why my hotel should be on Airbnb and why it has become a sales channel with high potential for hotels. In addition, we will see what the implications of their professional management are for them.
New opportunities on Airbnb for hotels
1. Attract new market segments
Airbnb has opened the possibilities for hotels to access new market segments that do not normally book through traditional hotel platforms. One of the particular segments that stands out are long stays. People who want to stay in a destination from a week to 6 months or a year, and who have different needs. Hotels on Airbnb have understood that a 6-month-old guest doesn’t necessarily want a rate with breakfast or her room cleaned every day.
Another important particularly why my hotel should be on Airbnb segment is the “pet friendly”. Guests are looking for properties where they can take their pet whatever it is. On Airbnb, hotels have received messages from guests asking if the pet-friendly policy includes rabbits, birds, hamsters, cats, or more than 3 dogs. Precisely as they are such particular needs, they prefer to book through Airbnb, which is a channel that allows greater interaction through the messaging service prior to booking.
As well as these, there are other multiple market segments, such as the creative segment that is looking for locations to make recordings, large families of more than 5 people who are looking for a large place where everyone can stay, or small groups that want to do their celebrations such as birthdays or intimate weddings.
2. Greater self-service with lower operating costs
One particularity of the Airbnb guests is that they are very independent. Guests often don’t need a lot of services like breakfast, daily housekeeping, or 24-hour front desk service. For this reason is that in the post-Covid-19 reopening stage, many hotels that are not yet operating with all their staff and services, find on this platform an opportunity to offer accommodation with lower operating costs. For example, there are hotels that do not yet have food and beverage service available, so they only offer accommodation. As the Airbnb guests used to stay in apartments or houses without additional services, they do not have problems with it.
3. Short Term Rentals platforms growth
Finally, platforms like Airbnb have grown exponentially in recent years. With more than 2.9 million hosts, 7 million property listings, and active listings in more than 100,000 cities, Airbnb has not only become one of the strongest online booking platforms alongside Booking or Expedia but has also opened the doors to new opportunities for hotels to access new markets by adapting their services and management.
Management and professional management of the Airbnb platform
And how do you get competitive on a platform that has never been used before? Professionalizing its management and giving it professional management with processes, people, and adapted technology that allows proper management. For this, hotel software such as LobbyPMS can be a great help.
1. Profile design and management
One of the biggest challenges for Airbnb is the management and design of the profile, since it requires different elements than traditional hotel OTAs. You need new descriptions, a title for the ad that attracts attention, carefully choosing the order of the photos, assessing whether you need photos other than the ones you already have; all this even before going on the air.
2. Revenue management administration
Once you have the property’s profile, it is necessary to use revenue management strategies to achieve competitive rates against the market. However, hotels have a particularity: the management of distribution in multiple online channels. It not only means taking into account the rates that are going to be established in Airbnb, but also those of other channels. All this, with a strategy and understanding of the demand and the different markets. A Channel Manager will be of great help to manage it
3. Inventory management
Another fundamental point is inventory management. Airbnb levies property fines of up to $100 when a guest cannot be greeted due to overselling or mismanagement of hotel inventory. In this case, it is a great help to have hotel software that allows you to generate closings in real-time in the channels. In this way, it is possible to close Airbnb availability when the same room has already been sold by Booking or vice versa.
This can be done through the integration of the Airbnb calendar and the synchronization with “ical”. It allows to generate these automatic closings in the PMS and avoids the risk of an oversold. In addition, hotel software that allows integration by “ical” does not generate additional charges from Airbnb for an integration via channel manager, which can make the channel commission go up as much as 16% in some cases.
4. Management of requirements and follow-up to guests
Finally, professional management also requires being attentive to the requirements of the guests and being able to follow up on their arrival, stay and check out. For this, it is again very useful to have hotel software that allows the operator to visualize changes or requirements of the guest when he arrives at the property.
Airbnb has an advanced chat-like messaging service that allows the receptionist to communicate with the guest easily. However, this messaging service does not allow saving important notes about the guest’s stay, so if a member of staff did not speak with the guest previously, they would have to return to the conversation, again and again, to verify what was exactly offered.
At this moment is when a hotel software should not only be useful to allow you to view reservations in real-time, but it should also have the option of leaving notes and alerts that can notify the team of any changes.
In conclusion, Airbnb is a sales channel for hotels with extraordinary potential in new market segments with lower operational cost and flexibility, but which needs professional management with adequate tools for it to generate the desired potential income.