First up

The suc­cess of Airbnb threat­ens to dis­rupt the ho­tel in­dus­try. But is it time to fight back? Lisa Allen asked some lead­ing op­er­a­tors

The Australian - The Deal - - News -

Overnight sen­sa­tion: fac­ing up to the Airbnb chal­lenge; An­drew Bax­ter ex­plains how luxury brands have joined the mass mar­ket

Paul Fis­chmann Founder, 8Ho­tels

I like the con­cept of Airbnb but I wish we didn’t have it. Hav­ing said that, I spent four days with my fam­ily at a house near Auck­land’s Bay of Is­lands com­plete with seven bed­rooms, a gym and an in­fin­ity pool, cost­ing $1800 a night booked on Airbnb. I would never have got a ho­tel for that price in that lo­ca­tion. So Airbnb is pro­mot­ing travel for peo­ple who don’t al­ways want to stay in ho­tels. And I am go­ing to try it my­self. I have a new ho­tel in Surry Hills and I will try sell­ing some of its rooms on Airbnb – we will use it as an­other on­line travel agency like we use Wo­tif and Bookings.com. We will see how that goes.”

Harry Triguboff Man­ag­ing direc­tor, Meriton Apart­ments

I don’t think I have to com­bat Airbnb. It is like com­par­ing Tif­fany to a shop that sells things for one dollar. Or like ask­ing some­one who lives in Dar­ling Point (pres­tige in­ner-Syd­ney sub­urb) what is hap­pen­ing in Toowoomba (a re­gional town­ship on Queens­land’s Dar­ling Downs). There’s al­ways room for an op­er­a­tor like Airbnb, but it’s quite a dif­fer­ent thing to my ser­viced apart­ments. Airbnb is a dif­fer­ent mar­ket – it has noth­ing to do with me. We looked into and tested the Airbnb web­site and found the in­quiries gen­er­ated were at price points sub­stan­tially lower than the mar­ket is pre­pared to pay us di­rectly. It was clear that there were no real syn­er­gies be­tween the level of our of­fer­ing and what Airbnb clien­tele is look­ing for.”

Bob East Chief ex­ec­u­tive, Mantra

We don’t have a strat­egy for Airbnb. But we are designing strate­gies to cater for our cus­tomers and give them the prod­ucts and ser­vices they are look­ing for. Our cus­tomers want to be right on the beach or in the heart of the city. The re­al­ity is Airbnb is not go­ing to get the room stock in the heart of the ac­tion.

Simon McGrath Chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Ac­cor Asia Pa­cific

Our strat­egy is not to worry about Airbnb, but to con­tinue on our strate­gic path of great brand, emo­tion­ally con­nected cus­tomer ser­vice and a loy­alty pro­gram that recog­nises the Ac­cor guest. Hav­ing said that, Airbnb is a nat­u­ral dis­rup­tion that many in­dus­tries have sus­tained in terms of the in­ter­net. It’s pos­i­tive in terms of its ac­tiv­ity, be­cause it in­creases ac­tiv­ity in tourism. It sat­is­fies a need for a cer­tain type of con­sumer and the con­sumer de­cides if they want to use this model. That is good. The down­side of it is (ques­tion­able) safety, se­cu­rity and lev­els of ser­vice. The con­sumer will de­cide if that is a ma­te­rial is­sue which will change their pur­chas­ing be­hav­iour.

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