Most people have heard of Airbnb, and may have used the service? If not, the online website connects people who want to rent out a room or their homes to people looking for accommodation. A website is the core part of ensuring how Airbnb was able to succeed in making it a $2.6 billion company. In fact, Airbnb is one of the many widely known companies in the tech industry! But, with the recent message from its CEO Brian Chesky with a layoff 25% of its workforce, it seems the picture of the hospitality industry may be grim.
Yes, there are signs of positivity, and yes there will be creative workarounds in restarting the economy. But, this will not happen overnight.
Airbnb started off when two guys Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia Living in San Francisco needed some extra income to support their rent payments. This was the initial motivation that allowed them to put an air bed in their living room and turn their apartment into a bed and breakfast. With that said, they saw this as being a potential opportunity and got together with an old roommate who happened to be a web developer. Subsequently, they were able to launch a website AirBedandBreakfast.com now known as Airbnb.com. It took them a while to attract website traffic and customers. In fact, the idea did not take off until two years later. In 2009, the website and its services became well known in the online marketplace.
No Real Estate
Airbnb plays a role as a platform for homeowners to rent out their property. As a result, Airbnb receives a commission for each booking. The success of Airbnb using the website has led the platform to expand by partnering with car rental services, restaurants, entertainment, and tour sites. Airbnb is now pushing to become an all-in-one travel site by branding itself as an ‘online travel community’, allowing users to use Airbnb to experience local exotic locations.
In addition to their success via the Airbnb website, Airbnb uses data science to better understanding the market and its customers. After all, this has allowed the company to offer new services and tweak many issues with current systems in place.
With the current shift of customers, and the reluctance of customers wanting to book a bedroom or home any time soon. Bookings are expected to drop, and the industry will see a drop in occupancy.
When the economy returns to “normal” Airbnb’s will just need to better understand the data, as well as additional costs that will be incurred in the sanitization of rentals. Will they be able to continue to compete with the larger hotel chains that may be better equipped than the small-time homeowners? Or will the current rental properties shift from short term rentals to long term rentals? In turn, Airbnb will most likely lose their inventory of property and rooms available.
Data scientists are constantly collecting data from their customers and sharing with their web developers, designers, engineers, and online marketers to improve their quality of service and reach a wider range of audiences around the world. On top of that, the marketing team at Airbnb will have to focus on new strategies and market needs.
Airbnb has invested a great deal of time and money into building and “perfecting” the website. Tools like map and language translation have created a more seamless and intuitive user experience. WIth the COVID-19 expected to be around for a while, and the possibility of other pandemics cannot be ruled out. The big question is what new features will be included on its existing platform? Will, there be an integration of reported COVID-19 cases around vacant properties? Will, there be more information available for visitors to explore whether they should book or not, rather than checking other third party websites before making that choice?
Without a doubt, Airbnb will need to incorporate new features into their existing solid website. Like in the past, the website and its online strategies have helped boost Airbnb’s online exposure. The company will only need to continue on this path. The design of Airbnb’s website has been on the key fundamental task of allowing visitors to quickly locate what they are looking for, and this will need to continue amidst new market challenges.
Airbnb’s website was created as a custom website and has continued to grow based on new features and functionalities. We will only need to wait and see how this tech company takes on this new challenge that will change how we may travel, shop, rent, and book rooms.
Cleanliness & Privacy
Arguably, hotels may have the edge over Airbnb, especially when it comes to hygiene and refunds. For example, cleanliness ratings may be the next rating you’d expect on websites. From car rentals, all the way to hotel rooms! Property owners that let out their properties and rooms are already experiencing the pinch in revenues. But, imagine if they have to clean their rentals like hospitals! The cost will bite away from their profits.
More importantly, hotels will have trained staff and equipment to make sure rooms are sanitized correctly. Airbnb’s customers, on the other hand, will be faced with the decision of cleaning themselves or hiring professionals that will clean based on standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions. For example, many of the large hotel chains are using electrostatic spraying technology to spread disinfectants that broadly kill germs in rooms.
Airbnb’s new standards also, follow C.D.C. guidelines, including using masks and gloves when cleaning and allowing the buildings to rest for a 24-hour waiting period between guests. But imagine, the loss of revenue for them missed days!
Then comes the promise of privacy, how will that be tackled?
For Airbnb, appearance and layout have been an important factor in ensuring a seamless and intuitive user experience. Think about it, clean-cut website design will always impact how the audience will interact with the website. But, the focus will be on other factors related to COVID-19. Will there be a new category for cleanliness or COVID cases? Regardless of all employees being tested, will the hotel industry be transparent to the public or hide such cases under their mattresses. What if a maid or cleaner is been effected? How will this be reported on the website? Will it be prominently available or hidden deep in the website. Website designers and online marketers will need to better understand how such information is placed online, and the experience made seamless. With a limited distraction, visitors will be engaged and likely to stay longer and further explore.
Of course, websites and online content will be much more important and used as a tool for all businesses. Whether it’s an established business or one just starting up? It will be a challenge to succeed without any online presence.
Though large tech companies like Airbnb will find new ways, rules, and practices to get their businesses back to “norm”, it will take time and carefully thought out strategies.
Whether its Airbnb or a small business, web design, online marketing, and SEO will be needed in order to come out as a leader when this is all gone and forgotten.