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Collaborative Economy Airbnb Loved Over Traditional Hotel Brands

07/31/2013 12:07 pm ET | Updated Sep 28, 2013

BPI 2013 Hotels - Jowyang

Above Graphic:  Netbase's research on sentiment and share of voice in social channels finds that while there's more share of voice in traditional hotel brands, people love 6-year-old peer-to-peer service AirBnb over 88-year-old traditional hotel brands like Hilton.  

Last week's NYT article on the Sharing Economy focused on Airbnb, and ties nicely to our continued research on this topic. A few weeks ago, we compared collaborative economy startups Airbnb to traditional travel booking sites, and they out-shined that traditional market.  NetBase (A client) provided me a cut of their data from the Brand Passion Index to segment how consumers who use social feel about Collaborative Economy startups Airbnb and One Fine Stay (high-end p2p travel experiences) compared to traditional hotel brands.  The size of the circle reflects quantity of discussions in the social sphere, and the location determines the sentiment.  This isn't my study, nor did I cut the data, it was provided to me by NetBase, follow CMO Lisa Joy Rosner to get more info.

Findings:  Startups have smaller share of voice, but are loved more than traditional hotel brands

  • Poster child AirBnb loved by the crowd.  The runaway winner on brand passion is Airbnb, who falls in the love category and has about half the diameter of Four Seasons or Hyatt.  This company allows the crowd to act like a hotel as guests stay at local neighborhoods, homes, and rooms like a friend.  This personalized, local experience is often not replicated at larger hotels who may cater to efficiency and consistency of experience.
  • Boutique startup OneFineStay has small footprint -- also loved.  Collaborative Economy startup, OneFineStay, which enables hosts to rent our their multi-million dollar properties to those that want to live a life of luxury has a small brand footprint in terms of quantity in share of voice, but has strong positive brand sentiment in love category.
  • FourSeasons and Hyatt show healthy market positions.  Both Four Seasons and Hyatt show moderate share of voice, but are in love quadrant, although they shift closer to the neutral spot.  They must continue to grow their positive online sentiment, as they risk moving towards the center axis, or cross into the negative sentiment quadrants.
  • Marriott and Sheraton grouped in Like.  Both showing healthy word of mouth, both brands sit in like category, although about one-third of Marriott share of voice is in disklike category.  They must continue to bolster guest experience and foster customers to talk about their positive experiences or risk continued negative or nearly neutral brand sentiment.
  • Hilton holds greatest share of voice -- but most negative sentiment. Hilton has the most share of voice online, but over half is negative 'disklike' content -- not positive sentiment.  Hilton must evaluate their broader customer experience strategy, and double down on social marketing to populate positive customer sentiment, as in this set of brands, they're the only one with the largest negative sentiment.
Six-year-old Airbnb getting rapid adoption Wonder how fast Airbnb is growing?  Here's some key quotes with stats: "Tonight we have 140,000 people around the world staying in Airbnb rooms. Hilton has around 600,000 rooms. We will get up to 200,000 people per night by peak this summer." Airbnb has 23,000 rooms and homes listed in New York City alone, and 24,000 in Paris. Worldwide, "we have listings in 34,000 cities and 192 countries," NYT, July 2013.  Also, "On New Year's Eve alone, 141,000 people worldwide stayed at an Airbnb. In single-occupancy terms that's almost 50% more than can fit in all the rooms in all the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. To be sure, those figures still pale next to the entire U.S. hotel industry, which according to research firm STR sold 1 billion nights alone between January and November 2012." Forbes, Jan 2013.   Read all my stats I've curating on the Collaborative Economy stats page on this aggregation page, also I visited their brand new HQ in SF last week, it's going to be quite the hub.
Hotel brands must understand and embrace Collaborative Economy business models Rather than fight the collabortative economy, hotel brands should instead understand the new business models, and enable this behavior among their own customer base.  We've identified new business opportunities for hotels including partnering with these startups, or enabling their own marketplace of guest homes for rent, backed by their own brand, supply chain, and even supplying trusted customers from their own loyalty programs. Read the following post: The Six Scenarios for Hotels to Address the Collaborative Economy.   At a broader level, the crowd is starting to get what they need from each other -- bypassing corporations.  Rather than fight this movement, hotel brands must collaborative with the crowd, and bring them closer.

This data shows the crowd gets what they want from each other -- not corporate hotels -- and is lovin' it.