The biggest “hotel” chain in the world

By | Category: Travel news

Airbnb says that it has now four million homes signed up with it. This massive number is spread across 191 countries which is only two less than the entire membership of the United Nations.

On one day, earlier this month, it had 2.5 million guests staying and I’d be prepared to bet that this number will be broken again this month. All of this means that if you compare it with the accommodation offered by hotel chains, it is now the largest provider. Not only that but it has more accommodation available than if you combine the largest five hotel chains in the world.

It took hoteliers decades to become as big as they have become. It has taken Airbnb less than ten years to achieve this success. Just about Travel started in the same year. We aren’t quite as big!

Its impact has been profound. There are tourist destinations worried about the effect it has on hoteliers and resorts. They fear that they won’t be able to generate the same amount of taxation as they get from hotels and they are worried about the potential effects on housing prices as entrepreneurs move in and spruce up accommodation to make it attractive to visitors. There are concerns that new hotels may not come on stream as hoteliers weigh up the opportunities of competing with Airbnb.

Ordinary householders see it as a boon as they can make money whilst they are holidaying or travelling. Visitors using Airbnb find the accommodation bigger than that provided by hotels and guesthouses as well as being more suitable for families. The properties are sometimes in places that are more convenient than hotels and provide better value for money.

On any one night, Airbnb says, two million people are staying in one of their listed properties.

But what of the future? B&B providers who have been forced to use online booking agents like Hotel.com, Laterooms.com and Booking.com have been charged high commissions. Some are using Airbnb because the fees are cheaper. Could it be in the future that traditional accommodation providers will have to find better reasons about why guests should use them rather than Airbnb?

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