As the owner/operator of a small French Style Hotel providing a fully serviced bed and breakfast hospitality option to travellers, ( in New Zealand) we have seen considerable change in the accommodation environment, since we commenced operations.
Coming from the experience of nearly 15 years in the business here in Sumner, Christchurch, plus our regular sampling of similar hospitality offerings in both Europe and Asia, change is certainly afoot , and we believe largely driven by the global disruption generated by AirBnb.
But it’s not just AirBnB driving the changes. Travellers price and service expectations, their behaviours and attitudes to accommodation options, hosts, and services, are all evolving. Also driving change within the industry is the behaviour of the historical booking channels most of which have been swallowed up by either Booking.com or Expedia. While these 2 global operators contribute to the cash-flows of accommodation businesses large & small, is their insatiable drive to gather more and more cash profit for their conglomerant owners, largely at the expense of the smaller hospitality operators, that is also going to drive change in the industry. Small operators are being forced to innovate and market themselves directly to travellers.
Certainly , as the hosts of Le Petit Hotel here in Sumner, New Zealand, we have seen a wide cross section of global travellers pass through our front doors. In one sense this is the interesting, lifestyle side to small hosting businesses like ourselves.
It’s also an unescapable reality that guests who have become accustomed to, or aligned themselves to the typical AirBnB walk in walk out – largely carefree attitude to their accommodation choice, are of a different ilk to what were/have been traditional bed & breakfast guests . Even large chain hotels are not immune to the fallout of the shifting attitudes of travellers, and in many cases it is leading to higher maintenance costs, eg. stains on carpets etc.
As the shake-out continues between the largely unregulated AirBnB accommodation providers and the more traditional hotel operators – both large and small, there are growing signs that Front office service combined with an effective “personality” differentiator is increasingly the success factor for the latter operators.