The hotel industry does not have adequate offers for millennial travelers; there is a huge gap between hotels and the ways people want to travel. This is why they are losing to Airbnb.
Quote from Sleepbox, in an article on PhocusWire this week.
STARTUP STAGE: Sleepbox's micro-hotels house travelers in urban areas
Sleepbox is right - for all the talk of a new generation of travelers entering the market, it often appears that the hotel sector is resting on its laurels when it comes to differentiation of its product.
True, again, when the startup that wants to provide "urban" properties for younger travelers says people want to experience a destination in new and (hopefully) exciting ways.
But there are a dangerous set of assumptions in play here.
The first is that hotels are not thinking this dilemma through. Any observer of the hospitality sector will note that hotels are made huge strides in their drive to modernize their offerings in recent years.
These range from new sub-brands that are emerging from the giant chains that are clearly targeting the younger demographics (albeit ones that can afford the rates) to the gradual overhaul of older, traditional brands.
Another assumption is that millennials want to embrace other types of experiences. They do, and they do not.
Private accommodation has its place in the minds in every generation of traveler, not just millennials, yet so does a hotel.
There is too much black and white when analyzing (and creating product for) the travel sector, forgetting that the grey area is where the reality most often takes place at scale.
Lest we forget, Airbnb, the company cited above as the force to be reckoned with when it comes to challenging hotels, has itself shifted into old mainstream by launching its own platform to distribute hotel properties.
The smart brands are those that consider all the options.
There are potentially a number of gaps that are still to be conquered in the travel industry - but that is not at the expense of believing the edges no longer work.