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How To Avoid Sharing Guests

Four Tips For Traditional Hotels To Fight Home Rentals Lodgings This Fall

By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky | September 6, 2022

As we cap off an incredibly busy, post-pandemic summer, one question that all hoteliers should be asking is: will these occupancy levels last? Autumn typically sees a drop off, but with the pent-up demand now partially expunged and a looming recession tightening the purse strings, how will this fall’s numbers compare to 2019 or years earlier?

Besides looking to various tech vendors for forward-looking travel intent data to give you a more accurate picture on how to adjust your rates, there’s another stark difference to consider for the autumn of 2022 with antecovidian years. The pandemic has changed travel behaviors, and out of this two-year mess the real victor yet to be crowned might be short-term rental units and home sharing platforms like Airbnb.

It’s not all animosity for these strange bedfellows, though. The argument can be made that these alternate lodgings help to increase total traveler numbers to thereby support the whole ecosystem; a rising tide raising all ships, as they say, despite these hosts often not paying their fair share of taxes compared to traditional hotels. Second, depending on the market, hotels can benefit from an increase of short-term rental units by acting as the hub to their spokes—taking advantage of the latter’s lack of facilities by promoting restaurant offers, spa discounts or pool day passes.

In gross numbers, however, hotels will have a problem when guestroom supply outpaces demand—what we may confront as the summer of revenge travel comes to a close. Platforms like Airbnb have done an exceptional job at converting many travelers to think ‘Airbnb first, hotels second.’ This has been done through a great website experience, an even better post-booking app experience, locational access to rooms embedded in non-tourist neighborhoods, the feature of unique rental spaces versus ‘stock’ rooms and the perception of more value per dollar.

It’s critical to keep these supposed advantages from the customer’s perspective in mind so that you can work with your revenue and marketing teams to devise a competitive strategy. Looking ahead to the stretch roughly from the beginning of October through to the holiday season in December, there is still a lot of last-minute tactics you can apply to drum up reservations. Here are four such moves:

  1. Increase perceived value through bundles. Home sharing units may have unique spaces with kitchens, but your hotel has facilities. Promote and package your facilities with the express messaging that it’s much more convenient to have these amenities under the same roof.
  2. Use the zero-price effect. As a companion to your packaging efforts, know that people respond quite well to the word ‘free.’ Give them a great rate with some value-adds and perhaps one or two bonuses at no extra cost to motivate faster bookings and less deliberation.
  3. Brand standards are peace of mind. Alternate lodgings may be uniquely configured, but this can also be framed as a double-edged sword in that the guest doesn’t really know what they are getting. Hotel standards are a guarantee and the people that support these standards are what will compel bookings. Features like a front desk, a concierge, security and daily housekeeping are all worthy of advertising.
  4. Location, location, location. While the home sharing platforms extol how well their units are embedded in the local community, this can often mean off the beaten path. Hotels are built in designated zones that are in the heart of the city and thus closer to the action. Promote as such.
Larry and Adam Mogelonsky

Together, Adam and Larry Mogelonsky represent one of the world’s most published writing teams in hospitality, with over a decade’s worth of material online. As the partners of Hotel Mogel Consulting Ltd., a Toronto-based consulting practice, Larry focuses on asset management, sales and operations while Adam specializes in hotel technology and marketing. Their experience encompasses properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select-service. Their work includes seven books: “In Vino Veritas: A Guide for Hoteliers and Restaurateurs to Sell More Wine” (2022), “More Hotel Mogel” (2020), “The Hotel Mogel” (2018), “The Llama is Inn” (2017), “Hotel Llama” (2015), “Llamas Rule” (2013) and “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012). You can reach them at adam@hotelmogel.com to discuss hotel business challenges or to book speaking engagements.

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