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