This is a clear sign that the sharing economy isn’t in its infancy anymore.
Can such a thing exist? Yes, but if we want it to work, we need short-term rental platforms and local governments to cooperate with each other.
More city and state government officials, from Hawaii to Los Angeles and San Francisco, want Airbnb and their peers to help them enforce local laws. But the platforms continue to use the Communications Decency Act as a shield that diverts any liability onto their users. It's clear that we need a better approach that allows both local governments and short-term rental problems to address regulations together.
Discrimination isn’t a problem limited to peer-to-peer platforms like Airbnb, and it’s not a problem with the sharing economy itself. It’s a problem that has to do with human behavior — how we interact with one another, whether online or in real life — and one that travel brands need to offer more than lip service to improve.
The $100 billion industry vacation rental sector could be going into over-drive as it attracts growing interest from investors, major hospitality brands and travelers seeking alternate accommodations.
OnceThere is trying to develop a robust private label business for tours and activities but in so doing it faces the challenge of having to split the revenue with partners in a sometimes-low margin business that's largely failed to live up to expectations.
Now-former Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston's decision to emphasize organic growth, his insistence that all properties sold on Booking.com be online bookable and instantly confirmable, and his strategy to keep Booking.com solely focused on the hotel business all set his tenure apart from those of his peers at Expedia. If you can set aside his apparently reckless behavior for a moment, it's a shame Huston won't be around to see his strategy through or to pivot, as required.
One of the reasons HomeAway thought it would be in its interests to get acquired is that it faced substantial risks in transitioning to an online bookable platform and tacking on a fee that travelers have to pay. Now it has Expedia's marketing muscle and tech skills to support all the changes, and a tested product official to help lead the effort.
Expedia seems to be on a sensible course in 2016 as it seeks to make good on its 2015 buying binge. Acquisitions are the sexy part; now Expedia has to make the marriages work behind closed doors.
Priceline Group's attempt to build an effective home rental product is proving a challenge, but CEO Darren Huston maintains the company had no interest in acquiring HomeAway because of its business model and the high cost.