How Airbnb Is Taking On The Hotel Industry
The move to offer a more 'pre-packaged' experience may secure a spot in minds of travelers
Excursions in foreign cultures can be intimidating, and establishing trust between both parties is no easy feat regardless of how much capital you pour into doing so, especially when strangers are involved. In a move to target the still-skeptical, Airbnb is testing out hotel-style packaging and amenities in Sonoma, CA.
Around the same time Airbnb launched its largest-ever campaign #LiveThere, which looks to offer travel activities and experiences beyond that of the home away from home, it also quietly launched a pilot program dedicated to offering a hotel-like experience it calls Sonoma Select. Opting to turn on the filter will display the 100 listings currently available, all of which have Instant booking, 24-hour check-in, and alluring amenities such as “local treats, wine, upgraded bath products and a guidebook,” making traveling to Cali all the more attractive.
Of course this isn’t the first time the company has experimented with different features and pilot programs; over the years its been testing out ways for hosts to market experiences beyond the living space as a means of enticing travelers to stay in more upscale accommodations. A clear-cut example is that of San Francisco, wherein Airbnb commissioned hosts to turn their homes into pop-up restaurants.
With the latest tests in Sonoma, its evident that the enterprise is continuing its attack on the classic hotel trip by adopting some of the amenities and features normatively found in one, only with a hyper-localized, tech-driven twist. Coupled with Superhosts—that is, those already accustomed to providing top notch amenities and hospitality—it appears that Airbnb wants to roll out the campaign with emphasis on higher quality services so as to lure in the luxury-seeking clientele.
And with its recently launched City Guidebooks, marketed as ‘keys to the city,’ the third most-expensive unicorn (a startup valued at over $1b USD) will be taking on Google’s proposed travel assistance app, which likely sources information and insights from local guide members all the same. Compiling local Airbnb hosts’ recommendations for food, drink, sightseeing, parks, arts and culture, shopping and so forth, the world will surely feel more familiar once these two giants gather their respective info. Should the Sonoma Select pilot prove successful, it’ll be interesting to see how the company proceeds with its exciting journey to help everyone ‘belong anywhere.’