Airbnb Is Great, But It's Being Challenged in One Key Area

What aspects of the hotel industry can Airbnb not compete with? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Sam Shank, CEO of HotelTonight, on Quora.

I'm a big fan of Airbnb. They created a whole new category of lodging and have built an amazing product and community. Like me, the founders have a design background and we see the world in a similar way.

Airbnb is great at providing unique and immersive experiences, and delivering a lot of value to consumers. This uniqueness is also a challenge, especially for business travelers who value consistency and reliability more highly than leisure travelers. For business travelers, they likely will want to be located in business centers, not in remote, though quaint, neighborhoods. For this reason, business traveler bookings at Airbnb are around 10%. HT is in comparison over 50% business travel.

However, business travelers also want uniqueness and authenticity - and this need is best met for them at boutique hotels. These hotels bring a unique vibe and personality, which the consistency, high service levels, and convenient location that business travelers require.

That said, I see turbulent times ahead for hotels that are not differentiated and which have no personality. All the consumer trends are moving away from this type of lodging.

Last point here is that hospitality and lodging is an enormous market. Airbnb will be hugely successful and hotels will remain successful as well - especially ones that take the best of Airbnb's authenticity and package it with a consistent experience.

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