Airbnb And The Travel Industry

Why Online Travel Agents Should Fear Airbnb's Rise - The Motley Fool

Excerpt from The Motley Fool

As Airbnb's 'Trips' feature gains steam, hotels aren't the only companies that should be worried.

Airbnb, the lodging service that provides a platform for homeowners to offer their private properties to paid guests, has long been thought of as a hotel industry disruptor. That threat seems to be growing as headlines recently revealed that the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), a hotel industry trade group, has been increasing its lobbying efforts in trying to get more regulation in place that would staunch the rise of Airbnb and similar services. Airbnb management responded in a scathing open letter to the AHLA. 

However, while focus on the lodging industry and regulation around it is heating up, Airbnb is quickly expanding its business in a way that should put more industries than hotels on alert. Here's why companies in other industries, such as Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), and TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP), should be watching Airbnb's growth closely as well. 

Airbnb "Trips" gains steam

Airbnb announced its new "Trips" feature in November, the first major expansion from the company's main business of providing a private residence booking platform. The main feature of Trips is "Experiences," which are usually guided tours or other adventures that allow users to experience unique parts of their destination cities. For instance, you might take a guided bike ride through the back streets of Tokyo, or spend a morning surfing with a professional near San Francisco, all created by the local hosts and booked directly through the Airbnb app.  

The Trips feature also includes "Places," such as guide books, meet-ups with other users, and walks guided by audio tours the user can download to their individual device. Airbnb recently announced that its Trips feature has expanded to 20 cities worldwide -- and you can probably expect it to continue growing rapidly in 2017. Right now, Airbnb Trips seems pretty focused on its Experiences feature, but one line in the company's press release from November that should have other travel booking sites on high alert is: 

Trips launches today with three key areas -- Experiences, Places and Homes, with Flights and Services to be added in the future.

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