Publications

- January 1, 2018: Vol. 30, Number 1

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At the hotel, motel, Airbnb

by Loretta Clodfelter

Change is coming to the hospitality industry. Traditional hotel operators are facing expanded competition from room-sharing platforms such as Airbnb Inc., HomeAway Inc. and VRBO.com Inc.

Airbnb, in particular, is a massive competitor. A November 2017 DBRS report on the hotel industry noted global listings on Airbnb total 3.0 million units — more than Hilton Worldwide Holdings (804,097 rooms), Marriott International (1.1 million rooms) and Wyndham Worldwide Group (697,600 rooms) combined.

The threat posed by Airbnb to traditional hotel companies is quite pronounced, especially when considering room-sharing companies require much lower capital expenditures for each marginal unit. And while short-term rentals typically have cheaper listings than hotel rooms, the average listing price for Airbnb is higher in New York City ($259.50 for Airbnb unit; $173.60 for hotel room) and Los Angeles ($208.30 for Airbnb unit; $186.70 for hotel room).

“Come 2018, Airbnb will l

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