What Hotel Chains Are Learning from Industry Disruptors… and You Can Too

Part of the problem with disrupting the hospitality industry (or any industry, for that matter) is that if you are successful, others will emulate. The changes sparked by AirBnb and OTAs like Expedia cannot entirely be patented or trademarked – if they could, an army of lawyers would slap down any encroachment on its business model. As it stands, all they’ve done (aside from creating billion dollar brands) is open the door. They’ve shown the world that hotels and hospitality can be reimagined.

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AirBnB vs. The Hospitality Industry: Creating an Unified Experience

Like it or not, AirBnB is changing the hospitality industry. Not temporarily, not in a small way, but permanently and significantly. Is this a bad thing for traditional industry players? Not at all—provided they pick up the clues that AirBnB is giving about the future of the industry.


In part one of this series, we discussed how AirBnB is spearheading a trend toward the personal in hospitality. People are connecting with this service because of the personality, warmth, and authenticity it promises. It’s now possible to rent a fully furnished loft in Paris, or a luxury apartment in Melbourne, directly from the owner. Instead of being a “guest” in a “hotel,” people are looking for a genuine experience of place, often with highly personalized guidance from the owner of the property. If all goes well, AirBnB’s customers almost feel like they’ve gotten away with something.

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AirBnB vs. The Hospitality Industry: A Trend Toward the Personal

The most recent valuation of AirBnB is over $13 billion, putting it in league with the world’s largest hotel chains. If current rates of growth continue, the peer-to-peer network will soon be worth more than Hilton Worldwide Holdings, which is currently valued at nearly $20 billion.


What does this prove? First, that AirBnB can no longer be described as a thorn in the side of the hospitality industry. And second, while AirBnB can never completely replace the traditional hospitality market, it can certainly show it how to evolve.

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