With thousands of hotels going out of business and up for sale, and vacation rentals business booming in certain destinations, there will be a ton of disruption and convergence in hospitality. Savvy short-term rental operators can pick off some direct bookings, but the mega online travel agencies will hardly notice.
Online Travel This Week
Airbnb hosts are undoubtably angered about what many view as the mothership's callous treatment, but will they abandon the platform and other listing sites in droves? Highly doubtful.
Expedia Group's Peter Kern did indicate recently that his company benefited from host disenchantment with Airbnb over guest reimbursement policies and other issues, but it's been a ripple and not a wave.
In a discussion last week at the Book Direct Show about online travel agency distribution of short-term rentals, panel members conceded that blaming online travel agencies for vacation rental owners' and property managers' shortfalls is playing the victim card, and failure to admit they have done an inadequate job in developing their own businesses.
Simon Lehmann, CEO of consultancy AJL Atelie and former CEO of property manager Interhome, said "it's bullshit" to blame the online travel agencies for taking advantage of property owners' weaknesses. Online travel agencies, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, and Expedia/Vrbo, have been responsible at times for 80 percent of short-term rental distribution, and they have been savvy enough to not let that dynamic flip, he added.
All of the panelists suggested that the short-term rental industry needs to invest in the guest experience on property to disintermediate the online travel agencies, and that direct