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Airbnb exec sets the scene for super brand

Apr 08 2016 16:54
Carin Smith

Dallas – It is Airbnb’s long term goal to become the super brand for travel, Chip Conley, Airbnb’s global head of hospitality and strategy, said at the global summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) taking place in Dallas this week.

In his view Airbnb is actually an extention of the boutique hotel concept.

“People want a localised experience and you can scale that when you have more than 2.2 million listings like we have,” he explained.
Taking care not to give away too much, Conley said Airbnb actually wants to become a livestyle curator for its customers.

“The idea of a lifestyle curator is because we understand our customer better and better. We understand what you enjoy. Some of what we will be doing in future would also be to match guests and hosts,” he explained.

“Our guest satisfaction rating is now higher than that of hotels. We also have a category of super hosts and our average stay of business travellers is longer than that of hotels. We could maybe curate experiences for them,” he added.

In his view, it is all about how to create incentives, by using psychology, to get hosts to do the best they can.

About 70% to 75% of the time Airbnb hosts and guests review each other after a stay and Conley added that the company takes down thousands of listings each month which are deemed not to be suitable for the site.

Michael Levie, founder and COO of citizen Hotels, said the hotel community is behind on the tech front.

“Their data systems are not communicating and often they are not bringing out data,” he explained.

“The hospitality industry is fragmented and cannot bring its needs to the fore.”

In Levie’s view, the hospitality industry needs a wakeup call in order to realise the need to use data and tech to know what guests want.

“Hotels have tried to be something for everybody, but now they have the opportunity to be more specific if they choose to be. In a top down world like that of the hotel industry, not much will probably change,” he said. “The hotel industry is, therefore, facing a choice about this need for change and use of technology.”

• Fin24 is the guest of the WTTC at its global summit.

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