How hotels have responded to the rise of Airbnb


The changing landscape of hotel accommodation to target millennial travellers

Since Airbnb’s disruption of the hotel industry from its inception in 2008, and pioneering a shift toward the sharing economy, many have predicted the demise of traditional hotels as a result. While younger travellers have increasingly favoured the accommodation-sharing site for cheaper, more authentic experiences, the service has yet to have an impact on hotel chain’s bottom lines. However, as the prominence of Airbnb continues to rise, many hotel chains have started to change up their business models in order to appeal to the all-important millennial traveller.  

Millennials represent the biggest generation of travellers, whom possess an undying passion for travelling. The needs of these travellers differ from the baby boomers and Gen X, preferring accommodation that offer communal spaces, digital connectivity and spaces which immerse them into the local scene. Looking for accommodation that goes beyond just a place to stay, many established hotel brands have tapped into this need and diversified into new brands that cater to these changing preferences.

Appealing to the millennial market isn’t solely about incorporating technology into the service offering. It is about rethinking and redefining the hotel experience. While technology plays a large part in the lives of this market, they do not have an appreciation for technology for the sake of technology. The perks of Airbnb do not lie within the user-friendly booking process, rather it is the unique accommodation experiences. Technology can help meet the basic needs, but in order to truly resonate with millennials, they must create truly modern experiences.

Here is a look at 4 examples of how hotel chains have evolved, to target millennial travellers by introducing elements of the local culture into their design:

REDRadisson Red, Brussels: Lobby

CHICAGORenaissance, Chicago: Library

21C21c’s Oklahoma City: Guest Room

montrealRenaissance, Montreal: Lobby 

These are great examples of the changing landscape of hotels, and how they have dealt with millennial travellers’ increasing preference for Airbnb. These parent brands have successfully reconsidered the experiences they provide, and introduced offerings that satisfy the desire to be immersed into the local culture. Moving forward, I anticipate to see a lot more millennial focused accommodation options popping up, so it will be interesting to see how they will differentiate themselves from one another.

Simon Wang
Strategy Intern

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Credits: Airbnb, AdWeek, AdAge, We Are Design Studio & The Peak Magazine.

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