Thriving In the Midst of Sharing Economy – What Hotels Can Learn from Airbnb
The face of hospitality is constantly changing and travelers are changing with it. Traditional accommodations have always been and are likely to remain extremely popular, however, the hospitality sector has welcomed the sharing economy once Airbnb made its debut on the market. If we’re to simplify things, we are basically talking about more competition for hotels.
The good news is, there’s an audience for everything and hoteliers can definitely hold on to their competitive advantage, as long as they keep up with travelers’ demands and expectations. So what can you learn from the sharing economy and what should you borrow from Airbnb’s strategy? We’ll discuss the best ways of adapting to the new wave of travel, and help your hotel rise above the competition by providing the best and most popular services.
Keep in touch
One other major thing that Airbnb is well known for is the enablement of seamless communication between the guests and the host. The way in which the two can easily and efficiently talk and discuss any details of the stay gives the experience a deeper level of personalization. This is especially enriched by the fact that there are no levels of “management” - everything comes from the main source - the host. This is, of course, not possible for the majority of hotels and especially not on a chain level, however, there are strategies that you can borrow. A direct messaging tool like the one we perfected at TrustYou enables you to communicate with your guests in a fast and efficient way, through their preferred channels. This makes guests feel at ease and encourages them to reach out whenever they have issues, questions, or requests. While you can simplify operations for yourself by using away messages or even templates, the messaging tool ensures that you still address your guests in a personal way and you keep a history of their requests and preferences. Keep in mind that a personal and open communication between the hotel and its guests guarantees a better experience and a higher level of trust.
Airbnb is a great online platform for quite a few reasons but one of the most important ones is the integration of guest reviews. It has been proven that modern travelers rely heavily on online reviews when making a booking decision. However, when reviews are not on your brand website, you risk travelers running off to another site to find them. This means that you basically lose their attention and they might keep scrolling on the vast world that is the internet, often stumbling across another accommodation. Integrating feedback on your hotel’s website is not only a winning strategy of Airbnb’s but one that has proven to be successful within the traditional sector of the hospitality. There are diverse ways to display reviews and scores that are known to catch travelers’ attention and provide them all the necessary information to complete a booking. The TrustYou Meta-Review and the TrustScore widget are highly visual ways that provide insights on a hotel’s reputation, based on verified reviews. These are used by successful hoteliers to engage travelers and encourage them to complete a booking, based on their hotels’ positive reputation.
Remember: you can make a difference on the spot
While many Airbnb specific strategies are good enough to borrow, there’s also one that the entire sharing economy is lacking - and that’s exactly the one that you should emphasize on in order to keep your competitive advantage. Remember that unlike Airbnb accommodations, you are there for your guests, on-site, while they check-in and during their entire stay. This gives you the chance to not only interact with your guests and build a higher level of trust but also anticipate their needs and expectations and provide a better guest experience. What is often frustrating with services such as Airbnb is the lack of a concierge during the check-in process: many times, guests are left with nothing but some instructions on how to let themselves in, but issues and questions might arise. In a hotel’s case, there’s always staff that is eager to help and facilitate the check-in process. While providing the option of self check-in is definitely recommended for those tech-savvy travelers, it’s also important to keep in mind that you have technology that can facilitate this process. A pre-stay survey can help you understand what your guests want and need from their hotel stay before they arrive at your hotel. Once you have this information, it’s easier to build a guest profile and cater to them, automatically improving the guest experience and your hotel’s reputation.
If you’re interested in making a positive difference in the guest experience and your hotel’s reputation, contact us and inquire about our messaging and survey solutions! Our experts will walk you through the benefits of an open and constant hotel-guest communication strategy.