Skift Take

If hotels could out-innovate Airbnb, then Schrager is right that would certainly be part of the answer to the threat posed by the homesharing company. However, Airbnb is more nimble than many big chains. And they are unlikely to give up their legislative efforts anytime soon.

Veteran hotelier Ian Schrager, who’s been involved in some disruption during his career, thinks the hotel industry’s tack to fight Airbnb through legislation won’t win out in the long run.

Instead, Schrager said, the hotel industry needs to beat Airbnb by focusing on developing communal spaces, because Airbnb “can’t do it.”

It’s difficult, after all, to create communal spaces in an isolated apartment someone is renting, although Airbnb is trying to create a sense of community through its tours and activities and other efforts.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association, for one, is heavily involved in lobbying against Airbnb — or leveling the playing field, as the organization puts it. Many governments around the world have passed legislation to limit or ban the homesharing site.

Schrager, though, feels he hotel industry should out-innovate Airbnb by developing shared areas in hotels — something younger generations seem to want.

Schrager’s new Public New York hotel has a multipurpose space called Public Arts, and five food and beverage venues.

Expanding on his views about Airbnb at the Expedia Partner Conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, Schrager returned to views he’s espoused before.

He said the hotel industry is in denial about Airbnb’s impact.

“I think they should be in a panic,” Schrager said. “I always tell everyone, Airbnb is coming for our kids; better lock them up.”

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Tags: airbnb, ian schrager

Photo credit: Ian Schrager is pictured at C2 Montreal. Karel Chladek for C2-MTL / Flickr

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