In 2008, real estate innovation reached a new peak. Airbnb’s mission was to become the biggest real estate rental company. Airbnb became popular in managing rental listings, but real estate reached another peak by installing smart technology in hotels. The result… smart hotels!
Hotels are leading the transition to smart building because they want to offer more personalized guest experiences. Some features of smart hotels include facial recognition, automated climate control, and sensory lighting.
Airbnb has 20% of the lodging market, but they still need to maintain a competitive edge. Almost three years ago, I wrote about my worst experience with Airbnb and concluded that I prefer to pay more at indie hotels for a stress-free experience. Unfortunately, many people (including myself) have learned there’s no guarantee that what you see is what you’ll get on Airbnb.
Fortunately, hotels set a higher standard because their reputation affect their success on review sites like TripAdvisor. Smart hotels are going further in their quality standards to compete with Airbnb. However, Airbnb has competed in other ways.
Airbnb is partnering with Newgard Development Group to open a 48-story building that will include 412 condos and 192 hotel rooms. They also have branded apartment buildings in Orlando and Nashville.
Airbnb isn’t intimidated by hotels. Instead, they are welcoming them to post hotel rooms on their platform.
Big hotel chains will probably resist the opportunity and install smart technology to enhance the guest experience. However, indie hotels may see the marketing opportunity to attract Airbnb users, but develop long-term relationships without using the platform again.
Airbnb is expanding their offerings, but they’re not enhancing the guest experience with smart technology. So, many competitors compete by becoming smart hotels.
Smart Hotels Can Win
Imagine you have a hotel room with smart speakers to understand voice commands to close the blinds, control the room’s temperature, or make a room service request (e.g. extra ice). Some smart hotels are already offering it!
Westin Hotels & Resorts and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has a custom version of Alexa to answer specific questions like “What time is check-out?” or “When does the pool close?”.
Hilton has 1,800+ connected rooms (smart rooms) in the United States. With these rooms, guests can control temperature, lights, television, and more from a mobile device or remote.
This year, Marriott launched their Bonvoy app to allow guests to book rooms, check-in, make service requests, and communicate with representatives and chatbots.
The Final Word
Airbnb is growing in market share, but hotels are leading the transition of smart building. As more independent hotels disappear from the market, hotels have to upgrade their standards to compete with Airbnb’s offerings.