Airbnb demand increasingly hitting hotels, not online travel agencies


Use of Airbnb is growing faster than industry commentators predicted, with hotels the main losers in the new accommodation war.

A large survey and follow-up analysis by global financial services giant Morgan Stanley says that Airbnb penetration of the accommodation sector is hitting somewhere in the region of 18-19%, up from 12% last year.

This marked increase in the space of just 12 months is being felt in both leisure and corporate travel, with nearly a fifth of both types having being hosted by an Airbnb member.

Although growth is forecast to slow slightly over the course of the next year, penetration is likely to be at around 23-25%.

Driving this still-rapid increase in usage is a combination of high traveller awareness (75% of consumers) and even higher user satisfaction rates (93%), Morgan Stanley says.

So where is shift to Airbnb coming from?

According to the report, almost half of respondents (49%) shifted stays away from so “traditional hotels” over the course of the last year, with the same figure expected for 2017.

With hotel bookings such an important mainstay of the online travel agency model, some could be forgiven for expecting the likes of Expedia, et al to experience some kind of donwside contagion as a result.

Not according to Morgan Stanley, which says OTAs are building out their own capability to handle alternative accommodation (rentals, homestays, etc) and, interestingly, could make them stronger competitors to Airbnb in the immediate future.

Furthermore, OTAs (the Big Two, at least) have eye-wateringly large warchests when it comes to marketing spend (again, difficult for Airbnb to counter) and their own online penetration still has plenty on runway ahead.

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