Airbnb came to the hospitality industry with a mallet when it grew from a startup (in 2008) to a booming global company (it really started to explode in the late 2010s). The philosophy? Live like a local. Discover original joints. Have a unique to stay. It was even cheaper (in many cases).
But like the way Instagram used to be quiet and quirky and is now a 21st century mainstream thoroughfare we’re all addicted to shooting, could travelers now wake up and stop consuming the marketing when it comes from Airbnb? The pandemic has hit the entire travel industry hard.
During the tightest pinch, when people were (especially here in Australia) unable to travel internationally (or in many cases even between states), Airbnb was popular – rather than risk staying in a hotel where you could catch COVID from 100 other people, travelers would book self-contained Airbnbs for themselves and their families and greatly reduce their risk of catching the spicy cough.
But now that the news cycle has moved away from COVID and towards Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and now that many people have now been fully vaccinated against COVID (or had COVID and are discounted), maybe it’s time for travelers to rediscover an old flame: hotels.
I saw this sign near the Bywater in NO and as an immigrant it put a lot of things into perspective for me as a tourist in America. Airbnb was “cool” because it gave that badge for not looking like a tourist, but beyond that there is no brand “after-sales service” to connect tourists with locals. pic.twitter.com/qTZ5kUlEYp
— Tai Koga (@tai_koga) March 13, 2022
Not only has the pandemic provided a silver lining for hotel restaurants (scaring people out of venturing to the streets for “unique” food), but, coming out of the pandemic, some frequent U.S. travelers are recalling the benefits of hotels, and questioning the benefits of Airbnb (given its prices, in many cases, now competitors of hotels).
While this is unlikely to collapse Airbnb’s empire in 2022, it’s worth considering how travel demographics (advertising consumer choice) might change this year.
Example: The following Tweet, from a Houston-based man named Adrian C. Jackson. Jackson took to Twitter yesterday to ask his followers why anyone would choose Airbnb over a hotel.
I am sincere when I ask this:
Why do you always choose AirBnB over hotels?
-Prices are no longer as reasonable as before; they cost as much as hotels
-Hotels provide housekeeping, room service, clean towels and better service
-No cleaning fees
-No surprise guests
— Adrian C. Jackson (@AdrianCJax) March 13, 2022
“I mean it when I ask this,” Jackson wrote. “Why do you always choose AirBnB over hotels? Prices aren’t as reasonable as they used to be; they cost as much as hotels.
He also pointed out that hotels provide housekeeping, room service, clean towels and (in his opinion) better service, as well as “no cleaning fees” and no “surprise guests”.
He also shared a story of the night he had a surprise guest at his Airbnb.
“‘Surprise guests’ means exactly that…” he replied to a Twitter user. “Like what happened to me on my first (and ONLY) Airbnb stay, I had the house all to myself; a friend of the owner got access to his house and casually wandered around while i was there, i told the owner and Airbnb…nothing was done about it.”
Commenters on his Tweet added that other benefits of hotels are that you are less likely to find scary things like cameras or experience racism (or racist objects).
My last AirBnB had 2 cameras, one in the bedroom and one in the living room in front of the sofa bed where my son slept and dressed. Once discovered after 2 days I nicely blocked the lens. Very scary to know that someone was probably watching us undress/sleep/have sex. I don’t know if I will use one again.
— Britered66 (@britered66) March 13, 2022
And hotels are legally prohibited from performing Jim Crow stunts unlike airbnb hosts.
— Torraine Walker (@TorraineWalker) March 13, 2022
So whenever I think of AirBnB I remember this thread (for better or worse) https://t.co/d2kifh44zW
— CMj ya later, alligator (@CMjohnson77) March 13, 2022
Another said: ‘Also hotels are not contributing to increasing homelessness like Airbnb is doing’ (a problem we are also seeing here in Australia, especially in hotspots like Byron Bay) .
Another told a horror story of when a host forgot to tell her husband he was staying in the basement of the house.
They wrote: “I stopped using them after a few uncomfortable experiences, including a room in a horribly overcrowded house (about 10 people, one bathroom) and a host who didn’t bother to tell his husband that I was allowed to sleep in. their basement suite.
Not everyone thought it was that simple. Some have sung Airbnb’s praises (saying they can be cheaper than hotels for long-term stays or FIFO workers).
One Twitter user said hotels can be pretty grim too, writing: “After staying at a Holiday Inn Express about 7 years ago, I swore I was done with hotels. The room was less than clean and reeked of stale cigarettes even though it was non-smoking. The carpet was old and worn. No kitchen, a cramped bathroom, a wall-mounted hairdryer that didn’t work.
I thought the same and only used AirBnB once solo. But it worked great for my family in a 6 bedroom house with a playroom for the kids. It ended up being much cheaper than booking hotels, 7 adults, 4 children. Admittedly, it was already so cheap in Idaho. https://t.co/qy8nolOsol
— KD (@Fly_Sistah) March 13, 2022
I’m a travel nurse, so a monthly rate at a hotel is usually insane no matter the city. COVID initiated a request for housekeeping only. I don’t know what you mean by “surprise guests”. My spots have a washer/dryer and I save $ to cook for myself. FurnishedFinder is cheaper. Same spots.
– Writer nurse (@ Poetif76) March 13, 2022
Swings and rides, we guess.
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