Guy Westlake, Founder of Lavanda talks about industry-wide standardisation and quality control ahead of this year’s Short Stay Show.
Over the past decade, the alternative accommodation sector has experienced huge growth.
This has been driven by the meteoric rise and proliferation of online travel agencies (OTAs), spearheaded by Airbnb, that have very effectively tapped into a huge well of pent-up consumer demand; both from business travellers looking for a cheaper, more convenient alternative to a hotel and from tourists seeking a “home away from home.”
In parallel, to service this demand, there has been an explosion of local management companies offering a hassle-free service to property owners, and a better, more standardised hospitality experience to paying guests. It has frankly never been easier either to book short-term accommodation, or to rent out a property.
With Airbnb’s announced IPO, 2020 is set to be a defining moment in this industry’s lifecycle. There are now some key trends emerging that will characterise the short-term rental industry in the next decade; for example we can expect sweeping changes to the regulatory landscape, alongside industry-wide professionalisation and standardisation. Whilst this is an industry that must face up to a number of evils and overcome significant challenges over the coming years, there is still absolutely no doubt in my mind that 2020 will usher in the “roaring twenties” of the alternative accommodation sector.
Consumer trust and confidence is of course core to the industry’s future growth, so we can expect this to continue to be a major area of focus and debate in 2020. It’s great news that Airbnb has publicly pledged to verify its 7 million listings by the end of the year and that Booking.com has now launched its quality ratings system – but what other initiatives and longer-term strategies are being implemented to foster and maintain the levels of trust necessary to ensure the sustainable future growth of the industry?
We can expect OTAs to focus their product strategies on improving the quality and safety of the accommodation being offered, and standardisation necessary to deliver a more consistent guest experience – but are there maybe more innovative and impactful ways for key stakeholders to collaborate that might enable the alternative accommodation sector to fulfil its potential?
To hear more about the industry, the Short Stay Show is returning to the ExCel on 12 March 2020. Get your ticket here.