At this week’s Expedia Partner Conference in Las Vegas, evidently lifestyle hotel maestro Ian Schrager called misguided the AH&LA’s aggressive battle to require Airbnb and its hosts to play by the same rules as the hotel industry. Instead, he suggests doing something Airbnb cannot – create the ultimate communal hotel environment to match the biggest trend of the day.
I agree with Ian about creating more communal spaces and the industry is noticeably responding, but while I often disagree with the AH&LA’s tack on issues, including minimum wage, I applaud them for trying to drive a dagger into the heart of the shared economy player’s often illegal businesses. The industry’s response does not need to be an either-or proposition, and an aggressive approach is necessary as Airbnb is fighting just as hard in Washington and with its global lobbying efforts.
Too often, home-sharing companies simply operate unfairly and sometimes unsafely. And with its huge global expansion, the bloom is coming off the rose and the cuteness is fading, especially as more stories emerge about discrimination and how its model creates affordable housing issues in multiple markets.
By all means, find ways to create communal, social and experiential services in your hotels and I still expect one of the majors to launch a new brand that does just that. But do not stop beating the drum AH&LA, and hotel associations worldwide. An even playing field is what the industry deserves.