最大限度地减少负面结果的风险，通常会在大多数时候为大多数客人带来令人满意的住宿体验。但是，一家住宿服务提供商的目标客户是有不同需求和期望的旅行者。 Airbnb承诺提供与主要连锁酒店完全相反的款待体验，从而颠覆了住宿服务。 Airbnb是新共享经济中的主要参与者，它是一个在线社区市场，它将想要出租房屋的人与正在寻找住宿的人联系起来。就像真正的在线市场一样，Airbnb没有任何住宿物业。它只是将买卖双方联系在一起，并促进了他们之间的交易。但是，Airbnb的价值承诺才真正使它与酒店业的现状脱颖而出。全新的住宿服务提供商将为您带来真实的体验-对您所访问的地方生活的真实感觉。尽管酒店业花了数十年的时间来雕刻其标准化的产品，但在短短的八年中，Airbnb已建立了一个全球网络，在191个国家/地区的34,000个城市中拥有200万以上的房源和6000万客人。它还建立了超过250亿美元的市场价值。尽管这些数字本身听起来可能令人印象深刻，但Airbnb短暂存在就已经超过了世界上最大的连锁酒店-拥有100年历史的希尔顿全球酒店集团（Hilton Worldwide），其拥有765,000间客房，4,660个物业，市值达到了220亿美元。 Airbnb如何吸引这一惊人的壮举？根据
创业公司的创始人Brian Chesky和Joe Gebbia只是简单地意识到，旅游业已经与顾客失去联系，只提供一种饼干切碎的选择，即防腐型酒店和度假村中的小巧客房。这种标准化的模型似乎为整个酒店行业指明了一个意想不到的目标，即确保没有发生任何有趣的事情。一旦Chesky和Gebbia意识到这一点，他们就制定了将真实性重新带回酒店业的战略。
Company Case Airbnb: Making Hospitality Authentic
Like many services industries, hotel companies have done a tremendous job of ensuring the quality of the customer experience through standardization. People booking rooms through any of the major hotel chains can be pretty much assured of certain basics. They’ll enter the 13-by-25-foot room into a short hallway with a bathroom and closet on one side or the other. In the bathroom, they’ll find the basics along with a sterile display of soaps, hair care products, and other toiletries. The room features a bed or two flanked on both sides by nightstands with a reading light by each. An upholstered chair and ottoman sit at an angle in the far corner with a desk opposite. A dresser topped with a flatscreen TV sits across from the foot of the bed. Visitors might also discover a mini-fridge and a microwave oven. The artwork and décor are fairly contemporary although impersonal and nondescript. Other details throughout the hotel property are equally predictable. And although luxury level across these features varies from chain to chain, the vibe is the same. Many travelers count on this standard experience—it assures that their experience will be within a set of narrow, expected boundaries.
Minimizing the risk of negative outcomes typically results in a satisfactory lodging experience for most guests most of the time. But one lodging provider is targeting travelers who have a different set of needs and expectations. Airbnb is turning lodging services upside down by promising a hospitality experience that is the complete opposite of the one provided by major hotel chains. A major player in the new sharing economy, Airbnb is an online community marketplace that connects people who want to rent out space in their homes with those who are looking for accommodations. Like a true online marketplace, Airbnb doesn’t own any lodging properties. It just brings buyers and sellers together and facilitates transactions between them. But Airbnb’s promise of value is what really sets it apart from the hospitality world’s status quo. The new-to-the-game lodging provider pitches an authentic experience—a true sense of what life is like in the place you visit. Whereas the hotel industry has spent decades sculpting its standardized offering, in just eight years Airbnb has built a global network of more than 2 million listings and 60 million guests throughout 34,000 cities in 191 countries. It has also built a market value of more than $25 billion. Although these numbers may sound impressive on their own, in its brief existence Airbnb has managed to exceed the accomplishments of the largest hotel chain in the world—100-year-old Hilton Worldwide with its 765,000 rooms, 4,660 properties, and a market value of $22 billion. How did Airbnb pull of this amazing feat? According to
Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia—the start-up’s founders—Airbnb simply recognized that the travel industry had lost touch with its customers by offering only one cookie-cutter option—ticky-tack rooms in antiseptic hotels and resorts. This standardized model seemed to dictate an unintended goal for the entire hotel industry—to ensure that nothing remotely interesting happens. Once Chesky and Gebbia recognized this, they set out a strategy to bring authenticity back into the hospitality industry.
Two Million Rooms—No Two Alike
It all started when the founders had a hair-brained thought on how to generate some extra income to help pay the rent on their modest San Francisco loft apartment. During a major convention that had every hotel room in the city booked, they rented out three air mattresses on the floor of their apartment for $40 a night each. In the process, they discovered that the people who booked that real estate got more than just a place to stay at a time when they needed it most—they got a unique networking opportunity. From that moment, Chesky and Gebbia moved quickly to develop and formalize the business concept. Today, using Airbnb to either list a property or rent one to stay in is relatively simple. For hosts—Airbnb’s official term for property owners who want to rent out space— it’s a simple matter of registering and being vetted to ensure legitimacy. Listings can be pretty much anything from a couch, a single room, a suite of rooms, or an apartment to a moored yacht, a houseboat, an entire house, or even a castle (Airbnb currently claims more than 1,400 castle listings). Some hosts even rent out space in their yards for guests to pitch a tent. With more than 2 million listed properties for rent, each is as unique as its owner. Because listings are in private homes and apartments, they are typically located in residential neighborhoods rather than commerce centers where national and global hotel brands abound. Bookings can be offered by the day, the week, or the month, and hosts decide on price and the other details of their service and listings. Airbnb keeps only 3 percent of the booking fees and returns the rest to the host within 24 hours. For guests, the process is about like buying or booking most anything online. Registered users search by city, room type, price range, amenities, host language, or various other options, including entering their own keywords. Most listings provide photos and details that give potential guests a reasonably accurate idea of what their stay will be like. Guests can contact potential hosts with questions before booking. On top of the fee for the property, guests typically lay down a security deposit and pay a 6 to 12 percent service fee to Airbnb. Bookings are made through Airbnb, so money changes hands only through a secure interface. When guests arrive at the chosen property, the host either greets them or arranges for entry. As the founders were getting Airbnb off the ground, they constantly faced a big challenge. Many people—investors included—were skeptical. In fact, during Airbnb’s first year, the founders were turned down by every venture capitalist they approached. “When we started this company, people thought we were crazy,” said Chesky. “They said strangers would never stay with strangers, and
horrible things are going to happen.” They also had a hard time convincing guests; few people were willing to risk staying with someone they’d never met. But Airbnb overcame these concerns through various means. First, it set up a standard rating system for both hosts and guests, allowing each side to assess the other and reviewing what others have said about prior experiences. A “superhost” status gives an assurance of extensive booking experience and high-quality service. A “business travel ready” badge notes that the host provides specific amenities like Wi-Fi, a desk, and basic toiletries. Airbnb also puts guest and host minds at ease with its verification process, tips for safe and satisfactory bookings, and a 24-hour Trust and Safety hotline. Hosts are further protected by an included insurance policy that protects their property from damages of up to $1 million. Airbnb admits that although these measures do not guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen, the likelihood of a negative outcome is no greater than it is for staying at a chain hotel.
Seeing the World as the Locals Do
From the beginning, Airbnb primarily served budget-minded customers with prices for listings lower than those of comparable hotel rooms. But more and more, Airbnb is seeing a shift toward customers—leisure and business travelers alike—who want more than just low price. This is hardly an accident. Airbnb deliberately positions itself as a provider of unique and authentic experiences through its branding, communications, and other aspects of its business. In doing so, Airbnb has taken the uncertainty of staying in a stranger’s house and turned it into an asset. Whereas hotels can compete on price and convenience, they cannot compete when it comes to the relationship between guest and host. “Guests are looking for experiences where they connect with people and connect with culture,” says Chesky. “You can’t automate hospitality.” Such was the theme of the second-annual Airbnb Open—a motivational event held in Paris, the company’s biggest market, and attended by 5,000 hosts from 110 different countries. In his keynote address, Chesky explained that the entire hospitality industry caters to tourists in a way that makes them feel like tourists. But with an Airbnb experience, guests start to feel like they are a part of the neighborhood and the city. As part of his presentation, Chesky summed up the entire Airbnb philosophy by illustrating the experience his own parents had when they arrived in Paris just days before the event. Pictures of their first day in town— hosted by typical tourist guides—were projected on a big screen. There was a picture of them on a double-decker tour bus, another on a generic boat ride, and a third standing in line at the Louvre. Chesky narrated each image with comical cynicism. “Every year, 30 million people go to Paris. They look at everything and they see nothing. We don’t need to go to monuments and landmarks to experience a culture. We can actually stay with people.” Then Chesky showed images from his parents’ second day in Paris—guided by some of Airbnb’s top hosts—where they experienced the city from the perspective of locals. They had coffee at an authentic sidewalk café, took a walk in a garden, and drank
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