Who could be­lieve that sev­eral ma­jor ho­tel chains are start­ing to im­i­tate Airbnb?


“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Af­ter years of stand­ing on the side­lines while Airbnb grew to amaz­ing size, sev­eral ma­jor ho­tel chains have de­cided to of­fer their own brand of apart­ment-shar­ing and home-shar­ing — the very ac­tiv­i­ties that have posed such a grave threat to the ho­tel in­dus­try. Hy­att Ho­tels has cre­ated an apart­ment — and home­shar­ing sub­sidiary called Oa­sis Col­lec­tions. Ac­cor Ho­tels has founded a sim­i­lar com­pany, called OneFineS­tay.com, and Mar­riott Ho­tels is con­duct­ing a test run in Lon­don only of a sim­i­lar business called Trib­ute Port­fo­lio Homes. Now when you call the first two, you can re­quest a stay in some­one’s pri­vate apart­ment instead of a stan­dard ho­tel room. All three be­lieve that they are uniquely sit­u­ated to give Airbnb and HomeAway.com (an­other shar­ing com­pany) a hard fight. In re­cent in­ter­views and speeches, ho­tel ex­ec­u­tives claim that they can guar­an­tee higher qual­ity in the home­shar­ing in­dus­try. Though I find this hard to be­lieve, one ho­tel ex­ec­u­tive ac­tu­ally said that his chain would send over its ho­tel clean­ing staff to homes or apart­ments at the end of a par­tic­u­lar stay, to make the beds and clean the rooms that re­cently had been rented. Fi­nally, all three chains claim they will use a bet­ter qual­ity of ac­com­mo­da­tion than is nor­mally found through Airbnb or HomeAway (though ob­vi­ously at a higher price). So the ho­tel in­dus­try is at last strik­ing back at the re­cent in­ter­lop­ers in their field. The battle will be in­ter­est­ing to watch. Arthur Frommer is the pi­o­neer­ing founder of the Frommer’s Travel Guide book se­ries. He co-hosts the ra­dio pro­gram, The Travel Show, with his travel correspondent daugh­ter Pauline Frommer. Find more des­ti­na­tions on­line and read Arthur Frommer’s blog at from­mers.com.

Ho­tel chains are at­tempt­ing to give Airbnb a run for its money. OPEN GRID SCHEDULER/FLICKR

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