The pandemic has brought travel and tourism to a grinding halt. When the world travels again in future, the playing field won’t be level but tilt in their favour, at least that’s what Airbnb believes.
Highlights! Airbnb will take on big hotels in the post-pandemic future of travel with an inherent advantage
- Airbnb looking for investors with a newfound built-in advantage in a post-pandemic travel industry
- How the Coronavirus outbreak changes the future of travel
- The difference between short-term homestays and hotel accommodation
- Why Airbnb should not discount big hotel chains when planning its future
- The time is now to capitalize on the opportunity bound to arise in the future
With 400,000 plus infected people and almost 18,000 fatalities, the 2019 Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a grinding halt. The only businesses operating right now are the essential services, while entertainment and hospitality one of the hardest-hit sectors. With big hotel chains, hospitality start-ups like Airbnb, Expedia, Trivago and Oyo have also seen business vanish. However, that hasn’t stopped home rental giant Airbnb from planning future expansion and looking for more investments.
A recent report from Skift suggests that Airbnb is in the midst of a fresh lookout for funding, talking to around 20 potential future investors. It would be a surprise for a company in the middle of disaster-management of a current crisis to gleam hopefully into the future. But for this future vision, Airbnb is banking on a recent consumer survey that apparently spells out an inherent advantage for the start-up compared to traditional hotel chains in the post-pandemic future of travel.
How COVID-19 Will Change The Future Of Travel
What essentially the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has done is made the future perpetually tied with Germaphobia. Outbreaks are spiking hard around the world and the worst is expected to continue for the next couple of months. But once the lockdown is successful in bringing new infections under control and the pandemic panic slowly wears off, an obsessive germophobic outlook to the future shall continue.You will find more infographics at Statista
That will essentially redefine customer preferences when looking for places to stay when they travel post the outbreak has been controlled globally. Instead of comfort or lifestyle preference, hygiene, safety and greater control over the accommodation may become the parameters. There are the very arguments that Airbnb seems to be making, as per Skift, where it will have an “inherent” advantage over hotel stays in the post-coronavirus travel industry.
But Don’t Discount Big Hotel Chains Yet
The “inherent” advantage of short-term home rental versus hotel stay, that Airbnb wants investors to believe, is based on a pre-set that people will be reluctant to stay in chain hotels which are often located in denser locations and depend on volume to succeed. The memo received by Skift mentions that with these advantages, Airbnb invariably positions itself ahead of others to “build trust and lead the future of travel”. In essence, Airbnb believes significantly more people will buy into the idea of more control.
But then, one cannot virtually negate hotel chains of the world like Hilton, Marriot, ITC etc, implying that they won’t innovate to bridge this gap of supposed ‘control’. While how an Airbnb host sanitizes the premises is not standardized, the hotel industry is bound to rack up its disinfecting process to re-build the customer trusts. Indeed, they have the resources to signal a monumental shift where luxury’s value isn’t rigid against health and safety standards.
Gearing Up To Capitalize When Travel Reopens
So, while Airbnb hosts may be facing loses right now with cancellations abound, instead of ruining over spilt milk they should look forward to the robust cow on the other side of the COVID-19 outbreak. When travel finally starts again, unsure customers will make up their preferences in the post-pandemic life. Airbnb will need to work with its hosts, and ironically have greater control, to ensure it capitalizes on the open market.
With its pre-pandemic exploits, Airbnb stands poised to emerge in-demand post the outbreak. So, it would easily be able to rack up investments. But a new narrative where every host treats their house like a hospital that’s guaranteed sanitized will be needed. That will help travellers shed the deep-penetrated germaphobia and hypochondria to feel at peace during their vacation. Needless to say, worried hosts and Airbnb executive team should start preparing for the open field of the future as soon as possible.