A New Study Reveals Airbnb Isn't Killing Off Hotels After All
In the ongoing battle between hotels and vacation rental site Airbnb, it makes a grabby headline to suggest that the once-scrappy start-up is beating the traditional hotel industry at its own game. Now it seems that reports of the hotel industry’s so-called demise at the hands of Airbnb have been greatly exaggerated.
As Skift recently reported, new data suggests that the homestay mainstay’s true share of the lodging marketplace may not be as large as has been widely claimed — and, in many ways, it’s inaccurate to simply compare hotel rooms with Airbnb listings since they're two entirely different animals.
Among some of the group’s key findings were that while Airbnb regularly reports having a total of 2.3 million listings worldwide, a number that's more than double the amount of Marriott and Starwood brands’ hotel rooms combined, the true number of active listings that one could comfortably compare to a hotel stay — in other words, an “entire home” accommodation that's available year-round — is approximately 981,000. It's still an impressive number, but one that puts Airbnb between Marriott + Starwood and Hilton in terms of the overall number of rooms available.
Perhaps more importantly, the data seems to indicate that rather than compete with hotels, Airbnb is helping to serve the overflow of room demand when and where occupancy is highest. According to Skift, the data supports the idea that in some of the world’s busiest destinations, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tokyo, Airbnb is simply providing accommodations for the extra demand.
The study, compiled by hotel market analysts at STR, examined a year's worth of data regarding Airbnb's business in Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., London, Paris, Tokyo, Barcelona, Mexico City and Sydney from August 2015 to July 2016. It’s worth noting that the analyzed stats were supplied directly by Airbnb, which has been accused of scrubbing its data in the past, though Jan Freitag, STR's senior VP of lodging insights, indicated she and her team had reason to doubt the data, whether it was coming from Airbnb or a major hotel chain.
The main takeaway, Freitag told Skift, is that “Airbnb is here, and it’s here to stay. This is the beginning of a larger discussion about the co-existence between Airbnb and hotels on terms that work for both parties. But this is just the beginning.”
Which doesn’t mean that hotels aren’t already spoiling for a fight. In July, France’s AccorHotels — parent company of Fairmont, Sofitel, Novotel, Ibis, Mercure and Raffles hotel brands, among others — acquired Onefinestay, one of Airbnb’s biggest competitors. While smaller boutique hotels may not have the financial resources to take on the company with an acquisition, they’ve chosen instead to leverage the service by creating Airbnb listings for their own rooms. Score one for the old guard!
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