On day two of Cvent CONNECT, Kevin Fliess, VP of Product Marketing, stood in front of a full room of hotel professionals to introduce Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy at Airbnb. Chip has spent over 25 years orchestrating the success of boutique hotels and has shared his marketing strategies with hosts in almost 200 countries.
Your brand should be resilient enough to stand up against competition and flexible enough to meet the needs of the rapidly changing industry.
The hotel guru joined Airbnb in 2013. He even joked that before home sharing became mainstream, he thought “People really want to do that? People want to stay in other peoples’ homes?” Fast forward to 2016 and Airbnb is the biggest disrupter in the travel industry. Though hoteliers shouldn’t view Airbnb as the bad guy. STR Research and Development did a case study on Airbnb’s effect on struggling Manhattan hotel scene. One of the biggest pieces of insight that the research uncovered was that Airbnb had zero impact on the success, or lack thereof, of these NYC hotels. This proved that the hospitality giant might not be as a big of a threat as initially thought, but instead provides an opportunity for hoteliers.
“Airbnb will never be great at serving the meeting professional,” Chip said frankly. This is good news for hotel professionals. Over time, Airbnb might release more widgets that try to meet the unique needs of meeting and event professionals, but they will never be as strong in this space as traditional hotels and resorts. “Can you imagine securing room blocks with Airbnb?!” Chip laughed.
As a hotelier himself, Chip believes that hotel professionals can learn a lot from the shared economy leader and vice versa. He urges hoteliers to continue to be curious and prepare for future industry disruptions. Your brand should be resilient enough to stand up against competition and flexible enough to meet the needs of the rapidly changing industry. This will allow you stay ahead of the disrupter before it becomes mainstream.