AirBnB poses a major challenge to the traditional hospitality industry, undercutting the prices of established hotels and bed and breakfasts.
The online platform, which allows people to rent their rooms or apartments to guests at very low prices, has poached an ever increasing amount of business from traditional accommodation providers since its launch in 2008.
But now AirBnB is facing its own set of challenges as authorities start to demand it functions under the same set of rules and regulations as normal hotel businesses.
In Barcelona the company is being fined €30,000 for failing to register properties listed on its site with the Catalonian Tourism Registry, while in Berlin authorities have banned people from renting whole apartments via AirBnB.
For fans of AirBnB this may look like an unfair attempt to stamp out an entrepreneurial and successful challenger business. Others believe the decisions are the result of lobbying by these city’s hoteliers.
However, if AirBnB is going to be a serious contender in the tourist accommodation marketplace, which it clearly is, then it needs to be regulated in the same way as any other hotel. There are myriad reasons for this – the security and safety of guests and property owners being the most important.
Running a successful hotel or bed and breakfast business is a major challenge. It seems only fair that AirBnB is forced to compete with them on a more level playing field.
However, the consumer will still reap the benefit as with AirBnB on the scene, hotels and bed and breakfasts can no longer rest on their laurels.
Hotels and traditional bed and breakfasts will never be able to compete along price lines with AirBnB rentals. So, if they are going to see off the challenge from AirBnB, they must provide the added value that justifies the higher prices.
This must come in the form of sparkling customer service, comfort, convenience, safety and generally providing guests with an unbeatable experience that makes them happy to part with a larger sum.
It may be subject to stricter regulations in future but AirBnB is here to stay, so hotels need to up their game.