Is @Airbnb the best hotel chain on the planet?

Airbnb, the peer-2-peer accommodation booking website reported a staggering 425,000 people stayed in an Airbnb 16 August 2014. On New Year's Eve they set a new record of 550,000 Airbnb stays. 

The Airbnb marketplace sets supply, standards and price levels. Delivering a bed, room or whole property to people across 'the curve'.

For those who aren't familiar, the theory of the curve is your product is worth different amounts to different people. Some will begrudgingly accept it for free, whereas others value it to pay over the odds. 

Flat pricing, as a result, excludes some people from paying (they 'feel' it is too expensive) whereas others are paying much less than they would. 

Airbnb is now so large, it can provide such elastic pricing to satisfy most who point to the website. Marriott, Hilton and International Hotels Group rely on confusing offers in an attempt to 'not lose customers'.

The downside is 'Hosts', those who offer the bed/room/property, have much higher vacancy rates as they don't have the sophisticated software and marketing to help them set prices quickly.

Airbnb's rapid growth has been underpinned by a culture of cool. You're not just booking a room, it's a better service with an engaged Host. As Airbnb says, you can 'Belong Anywhere'.

The website goes to great lengths to advise Hosts on best practice, often sourced from what other Hosts have done successfully. 

While this increasing usage is great, the added visibility is causing consternation: landlords and lettings agents are discovering tenants are making money. And if you've ever met a landlord, they take great offence at anyone who might be making money they think rightfully belongs in their pocket. 

Sub-letting, as the practice of renting out part or all of your rented accommodation is called, has always been common. After all, you rent because you're poor (for the most part).

At the end of the day, landlords want to get paid. And tenants having more money, means more landlords will get paid.

But if anyone can be a hotelier, does this put traditional hotels at risk. Airbnb launched in 2008. Here are the stock price charts of the biggest hotel groups since then:

While Hilton was only recently floated back onto the public markets, you'll noticed that all these hotel stocks are at all-time highs. 

Traditional chain hotel groups are doing better than they ever have. So has Airbnb disrupted hotels? Absolutely not. 

Airbnb has introduced a more varied level of hotel stock, to satisfy the leisure hungry consumer is the latest economic boom (well timed Airbnb).

And that's what most entrepreneurs don't talk about (because it's hard to determine): are the economic conditions/winds in their favour.

One thing is for certain, while people want to travel more each year, Airbnb will continue to grow. As will traditional hotels. 

And when the US FAA has published figures suggested air travel numbers will double between 2012 and 2032 to 1.2 billlion trips a year, who would bet against the continued ability for you to 'Belong Anywhere'.

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