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ITB Academy Webinar: The Sharing Economy and the Future of Travel

Guest article from Wouter Geerts, Travel Analyst – Lodging, Euromonitor International

Depending on who you speak to in the hotel industry, sharing economy platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway are either a force to be reckoned with or simply niggling at the periphery; a force for good or boosting illegal practices; companies that will change the future face of the lodging industry, or that will quietly disappear when consumer preferences change. One thing is certain, however, the lodging industry is abuzz with discussions on the legality, sustainability, profitability and disruptive ability of sharing economy platforms.

Polarisation of the lodging landscape

Despite the persistence of naysayers, it is becoming ever clearer that peer-to-peer platforms are changing the industry. When looking at the lodging landscape, at present we see two (largely) opposing camps forming a polarised environment. On the one side are the traditional accommodation providers like hotels, timeshare, hostels, serviced and self-catering apartments. On the other side are strong growing peer-to-peer platforms providing spare rooms, home swaps, and holiday homes. While there is overlap and some consolidation happening at the moment – with Wyndham Worldwide investing in Love Home Swap and Hyatt in OneFineStay – there is a strong divide between these camps, with the traditional camp in particular fighting the peer-to-peer camp.

Similarly, we see that these accommodation providers are serviced by two types of transportation, with guests being able to use more traditional mass transportation providers or shared transportation providers, offering car, ride and bike sharing. Tensions between these camps are similarly running high, with major protests and unrest in cities like Paris and London, for example, as traditional taxi drivers clashed with Uber drivers.

Consolidation is to be expected

At Euromonitor International we expect that the coming decades will bring consolidation, both among traditional and peer-to-peer players, and between camps. This could lead to the formation of hubs or amalgamations of lodging providers. This might mean that business hotels, boutique hotels, leisure resorts, timeshare, hostels and holiday villas will all come together in one geographical place, serviced by retail and entertainment spaces. Alternatively, geographical proximity might be less relevant, as different lodging providers in a city or neighbourhood are all serviced from one hub, with key collection, concierge services, airport transfers etc all directing to this central hub.

These hubs will be serviced by a mixture of mass and shared transportation options: a multi-modal network. People will no longer rely on one form of transportation to get to their destination and to get around. Instead – and with the benefit of mobile applications we already see this happening now – people will plan their routes by using more than one form of transport. Peer-to-peer transportation will need to be combined with mass transportation, as the amount of people that travel will increase strongly.

How to prepare for a changing business environment

To find out more about how the sharing economy is impacting the business environment, what are the challenges, opportunities and future scenarions, watch HERE the ITB Academy Webinar, in association with Euromonitor International.

To download your complimentary report “Hotels and the Sharing Economy: what does the future holds?”please click HERE

For more information about Euromonitor International’s travel research, please contact

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