Meet Anja and Arnauld. I’ve never met them before, but they are staying in my spare room tonight.
They are from Germany and are visiting Melbourne for a few days. So how did they end up finding my ‘charming’ 2-bedroom unit in a quiet cul de sac of Brunswick? Easy. They searched online, compared locations, prices, accommodation types and with the click of a button on the accommodation sharing website Airbnb, they secured the dingy back room of my unit. Bam! $100 for me, cheap accommodation for them, everyone wins.
To Airbnb or to not Airbnb, that is the question
A quick search of the Melbourne area for a weekend in April shows you that there are some 300+ Airbnb listings available competing with the 100’s of accommodation businesses currently in operation. There are seemingly endless types of dwellings you may choose to stay in if you are heading away for a few nights; be it an elevated tree house, traditional tee pee, shared bedroom, a mystical castle or an inner city condo. In the past week for the thrill seekers, there is now even the opportunity to stay underwater surrounded by sharks in an aquarium in France. So, what is making people choose to stay at a complete strangers’ home and in these bizarre settings? Especially when you compare it to the safety of booking a hotel which offers peace of mind to guests, has a perceived level of professionalism, customer service, cleanliness and reliability.
Video: YouTube, Welcome to Airbnb
You can belong anywhere. As the video ‘Welcome to Airbnb’ encourages, you will feel at home in a new place. There are now listings in 192 different countries, which gives people the opportunity to meet people from around the world offering a rare insight into how their home lives differ to one’s own. There are price points for many budgets, so if you are comfortable sleeping on a stranger’s house that is an option, but if you are looking for something more luxurious and private that too can be found. The Airbnb app allows hosts and guests to chat before arriving and read post reviews about one another after the stay. Each of these actions provides confidence to the other person and future guests and hosts, thus building themselves solid reputation online. Familiarity with using online mediums to book accommodation is a big factor in the success of Airbnb. It’s not just the youngsters getting amongst it and there are no signs of the market flattening out.
The Sharing Economy
The fundamental concept isn’t new to our society, call it ‘collaborative consumption’, ‘peer to peer’ or ‘sharing economy’, the basis is the same. Mankind has always been one to share. Think back to the 30’s or World War 2, when it wasn’t uncommon for two or more families sharing homes to save costs, carpooling and ride sharing and babysitting are all forms of sharing that have long since been around. A major difference now is how online networks such as Airbnb are making it increasingly easy to access information and peer reviews, ultimately resulting in people feeling safe enough to book using a website.
What this means?
Numbers are on the rise. Experts say that digital disruptor Airbnb is stiff competition for traditional hotels. A Bloomberg Market article states that the Airbnb company is now valued $25.5 billion. Customers are becoming more savvy. Prices are being pushed down across the board, customisation is becoming key and people are expecting what they pay for.
I’ll be going now; I’ve got to go fluff some pillows for strangers.
Verhage, J. “Goldman Sachs: More and More People Who Use Airbnb Don’t Want to Go Back to Hotels”. Bloomberg Markets, February 17, 2016. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-16/goldman-sachs-more-and-more-people-who-use-airbnb-don-t-want-to-go-back-to-hotels Accessed 3/4/2016
“Airbnb Offers a Bedroom in Sharkfilled Paris Aquarium”. Domain, March 30, 2016. http://www.domain.com.au/news/airbnb-offers-a-bedroom-in-sharkfilled-paris-aquarium-20160330-gntsv8/, Accessed 3/4/2016
Iacobucci, D. 2013. MM4. South-Western, Cengage Learning. Mason, USA.
Posted by Ebony Flett |WordPress name: ebsflett |ID: 216167621