Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 03 2016

3 Reasons Why Airbnb Is Achieving So Much Success

David McMillin


The convention industry is buzzing with Airbnb action. Your attendees are booking the company’s listings. Your hotel partners are developing strategies to keep up with the company’s rapid growth. Your host destinations are thinking about the company’s impact on their tourism numbers. As Airbnb adds to its already massive number of listings — currently more than 2 million in more than 34,000 cities — the company has the potential to transform the traditional model of a room block.

10416-davidarticleImage courtesy of Skift

At the Skift Global Forum held in New York City from September 27—28, a range of the brightest minds in travel were talking about the peer-to-peer rental revolution, too. From interviews with seasoned hotel veterans to panel discussions with online travel agency CEOs, Airbnb was a thread throughout the two-day conversation. On the second day of the conference, Chip Conley, Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, joined the Skift community to discuss evolving guest desires and expectations. While some in the convention industry may see Airbnb as a low-priced alternative to hotels, the platform is competing on much more than price. From castles and high-end condos in prime locations to shared rooms and tiny cottages, Airbnb includes a wide range of offerings. So what’s driving the company’s impressive growth? A lot more than cost. Here’s a look at some of the key reasons Airbnb is achieving so much success.

SEE ALSO: Who’s Down With Airbnb?

1) If you’re a host, you need to be awesome.

Airbnb isn’t an anything-goes platform. When Conley first joined the team, the company did not have hospitality standards. Now, they have a set of standards that each host must meet in order to be part of the community, and Airbnb doesn’t hesitate to kick out the subpar members. In fact, Conley says that the team takes tens of thousands of hosts off the platform each month who don’t satisfy the need to deliver excellent and dependable hospitality.

2) If you’re a guest, you know what you’re getting.

“Disappointment equals expectation minus reality,” Conley told the Skift audience.

That equation is an essential piece of Airbnb’s success model: ensuring that each listing offers an accurate portrayal of the amenities and the type of experience guests will find. For example, one guest might be looking for a bare-bones place with a bed while another may be searching for a home equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi, premium cable and a rooftop patio. Conley highlights that Airbnb aims to match guests with listings that give them a clear idea of the experience before they arrive. He recommends that hosts include three reasons why guests love a place and two areas that might frustrate certain guests. That’s something that wouldn’t normally appear in a hotel listing: here’s why you might not like staying here. However, Conley highlights that this type of transparency is what fuels the community.

SEE ALSO: Airbnb Is Getting Even More Serious About Business Travel

3) The company sees itself as a teacher.

Massive hotel companies fulfill a number of duties. They manage properties. They deliver loyalty points. They drive ADR. They build brands. They create value for owners and shareholders. Conley’s remarks at Skift show that Airbnb recognizes one of the company’s chief responsibilities is to teach its hosts how to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience.

“You can’t manufacture authenticity,” Conley said. “Airbnb isn’t delivering the experience. It’s our hosts who are doing it.”

With more than 1.5 million hosts who speak 32 languages, Airbnb has a large number of students. Conley cites the company’s annual Airbnb Open as a primary environment for that educational exchange to take place, and he cited a statistic that shows the company’s efforts are clearly paying off. Airbnb’s guest satisfaction rates, which are based on the Net Promoter Score, is approximately 50 percent higher than the hotel industry.

As more guests spread the word about their love for Airbnb, more of your attendees will explore the opportunity to live like a local. Check out “How Airbnb Is Working With The Meetings Industry.”

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