Adventures in re-branding: Hotel execs get wrong what Airbnb gets right

Hotel execs must be reading my blog; I think they loved the re-branding of the solar system so much, that they’ve decided to keep doing what they are doing, but re-brand it as giving a “feeling of home comfort”. Now at hotels like The Standard, the concierge is labeled the “personal concierge”. You can have laundry access, just like a home – but limited to two items per day. Some tasty snacks will be ready in your room – all for the already rolled in $100 surcharge. And at a week or longer, you can get up to 40% off of your rooms (already a common practice among hotels).

These hotels marketing a homey experience are doing nothing different to what they’ve always done; the ingredients to their conception of a “home stay” are not so earth shattering as is their marketing. And this is also where they reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of their unique selling point.

What differentiates hotels from coach surfing and home sitting is the guarantee of comfort – a good night’s sleep in a clean room and a comfy bed, and your own personal space with no house rules to follow. What makes Airbnb competitive is the lower prices and good locations, more so than the home-made experience. So unless a hotel grows legs and moves to a more optimal location or slashes prices, fresh muffins in the morning ain’t gonna win those customers back.