As the growing market of short-term and long-term rental properties continues to thrive, Airbnb has become one of the largest competitors to traditional hotels and resorts.
Instead of staying in a single-room accommodation, guests can select from a variety of options on Airbnb, including unique stays, full homes or single rooms.
After Airbnb launched its mobile app in 2012, consumers began swapping out their hotel stays for something that seemed more authentic and local. The ability to swipe through gorgeous properties and filter by amenity types had users dreaming about their vacation before they even looked up airfare costs.
Over time, travel consumers have traded luxury hotels with a corporate, cookie-cutter experience for something more unique. Their appetites are growing. Their needs are evolving. And far too often, traditional hotels and resorts are falling short.
There are undoubtedly benefits to using Airbnb or Vrbo, but there are also clear advantages that hotels and resorts have over short-term rental platforms. This is a healthy competition, not a death knell.
But the hospitality industry at large has a big marketing problem, and for every problem there are fixes. We’ll dig into the how in a moment, but first let’s look at Airbnb’s impact on the hotel industry at large.
The Impact of Airbnb on the Hotel Industry
Many in the younger generations have made the switch to primarily using Airbnbs and other short-term rental apps because of their easy-to-use booking platforms and amenities.
A lot of short-term rentals offer private access to amenities like full kitchens, pools, and other entertainment areas, which can make it difficult for hotels to compete. According to hotel data from Smith Travel Research, Airbnb has reduced hotel profits by 3.7% in the top 10 US cities.
The gap between the hotel industry and Airbnb is only continuing to grow. As almost anyone could sign up to be an Airbnb host, there are now thousands of new accommodations in many major cities and towns across the world. However, hotels and resorts can continue to combat this difference by out-marketing their competition.
7 Ways Hotels & Resorts Can Out-Market Airbnb
As the travel industry continues to evolve, hotels and resorts need to come up with unique ways to out-market their top competitor – Airbnb. The best way to do so is by honing in on unique benefits offered by hotels and resorts compared to top competitors.
They need to be answering this core question: Why should consumers switch back?
We’ve compiled a list of 7 marketing strategies hotels and resorts can utilize to begin to outmarket Airbnb and gain back trust from travelers.
1. Offer Comprehensive Packages
One unique advantage that hotels have over Airbnbs is their ability to curate unique experiences with their concierge services to offer comprehensive vacation packages.
One large pull of Airbnb guests is that they get a truly local and authentic experience. Hotels and resorts can leverage this feeling by curating packages with local restaurants, excursions, and more.
Talk with local restaurants, museums, and other popular tourist destinations to see what local and authentic vacation packages you can curate. By offering comprehensive packages like this, guests can get an unforgettable experience while still staying in a hotel or resort.
This can also be a great opportunity to leverage the benefits of any all-inclusive packages that your resort may offer.
2. Emphasize Unique Amenities
One of the largest reasons guests made the decision to switch to Airbnb or other short term rentals were the amenities offered. With Airbnbs, consumers can get private pools, a full kitchen, hot tubs, and more. However, hotels can still lean into their unique luxury amenities that Airbnb cannot offer.
At many hotels and resorts, guests can take advantage of things like spa access, on-site gyms, room service, housekeeping, and more. In order to out-market the competition, hotels and resorts should heavily consider advertising their unique amenities – and potentially expanding them.
With that being said, you may be able to corner the market and gather more interest in your hotel or resort compared to Airbnbs and other short-term accommodations in the area.
3. Use Competitive Pricing Models
Though Airbnb is famous for being a less expensive option compared to other accommodations in a similar area, hotels can still create a competitive pricing market.
This is especially true because Airbnb is becoming more and more expensive every day.
Because Airbnbs still charge for cleaning fees, security deposits, and other charges in addition to their nightly rate, there is opportunity for hotels to out-price their competition.
As hotels usually raise their rates for large events or periods of higher demand, they may be losing out on potential business. Many accommodations are switching to a competitive pricing model to compete with the Airbnb market. Keeping your prices flat during busier times can ensure you are increasing occupancy and offering a better value for your guests.
4. Create A Rewards Program
Airbnb exclusively uses independent hosts and contractors to upkeep, sell, and list short-term rental properties. That means they do not have the opportunity to take advantage of a rewards program. However, hotels and resorts can take advantage of this unique opportunity.
By offering a comprehensive rewards programs for guests, hotels can tap into a unique market and promote returning customers. This is especially important for global brands, as it can help increase occupancy across their brand worldwide. Additionally, hotels should continue to expand their partnerships and increase the value of their rewards to help keep consumers satisfied.
5. Gear Your Branding Towards The Local Experience
The biggest reason consumers decided to switch from hotels and resorts to an Airbnb is the authentic and local experience. Hosts often provide guests with beautifully decorated homes and a more homey feel all together.
However, hotels can combat this by creating a sense of authenticity and community in their own right. Marketing a specific property as historic, culturally significant, or unique within their geographical region can draw a lot of consumer attention. The everyday traveler may also want to rely on local concierge services for recommendations, which is not often offered by the average Airbnb host.
6. Optimize The Booking Process
We’re not transitioning to a digital world. It’s here. People value a simple and easy booking process that they can do from any device.
Airbnb operates largely on an app platform with easy access to photos and videos. It makes booking a lot easier, and a lot more enticing. Users can see themselves in the places they’re going before they even book.
Traditional resort and hotel booking experiences are almost uniformly more complicated and clunky. It leads to more abandoned bookings and missed opportunities.
By making it easier for guests to see, visually, the different room types, costs and amenities, they can reduce cart abandonment. Optimizing your booking process for user experience reduces hesitation, and cuts down on window shopping.
7. Provide Excellent Customer Service
One thing that hotels have that Airbnb does not is the opportunity to provide stellar service with face-to-face interactions. As many Airbnbs use contactless check-in procedures, hotels can capitalize on friendly service.
Leveraging things like front desk services, housekeeping, and concierge within marketing campaigns can really help boost the hotel and resort experience.
Additionally, hotels often have staff on site 24-hours a day opposed to Airbnbs, which generally only have a single host available.
You shouldn’t just be offering these things. You should be marketing them relentlessly through your advertising campaigns, on-site content experience and off-site platforms.
Create a Stellar Strategy to Out-Market The Competition in the Travel Industry
Hotels and resorts are competing with Airbnbs for space in the travel industry. However, there are a few ways in which hotels and resorts can out-market their competitors. With the right marketing strategy and guidance from experts, hotel and resort brands can thrive in the evolving travel industry.
From the Future is a premiere marketing agency with experience in the travel niche. Leveraging experience from our travel experts, we can provide a unique viewpoint and recommendations for digital marketing services. Marketing in the travel industry is more important than ever with the emergence of short-term rental stays and Airbnb. Having a trustworthy partner to help you strategize and execute your plan is of the utmost importance.