Airbnb Is the Next Big Hotel Distribution Channel
Could hotel bookings be added to the Airbnb mix?
For years, analysts have been talking about the disruptive impact of Airbnb’s alternative lodging solution to the hotel industry, but we think they are missing the point.
Amazon.com is one of the world’s largest retailers today, mentioned in the same breath as Walmart, Target, and every other retail giant. Often, these companies are compared to Amazon instead of the other way around. For the past decade, we take it for granted that “you can find it on Amazon,” but this was not originally the case. In 1995, Amazon was launched as a bookstore. They were evaluated as a bookstore and measured on the number of books offered and sold. They were a disruptive threat to Barnes & Noble, Borders (remember them?), Hastings, and other regional and national giants in the space. While there is no doubt that the book business was turned on its head by Amazon, this pales in comparison to the larger impact of the company on the broader retail market.
Like Amazon, Airbnb is being measured by the breadth of its inventory. The site lists more rooms for sale than any of the largest hotel companies. Booking data is not known, but site traffic now rivals that of Expedia and surpasses that of most of the big brands.