Swiss-Belhotel International’s regional director of sales and marketing for the Middle East and Africa, Priyanka Kapoor, took part in a panel discussion at the Travel Tech Show MEASA 2019 about how the sharing economy is disrupting the norm.
Referring to the introduction of alternative travel, accommodation and activity products into the customer facing shelf, Kapoor said: “We are in an era of sharing economy, which has created a healthy ecosystem with alternative accommodation innovations. In the last two decades, we have seen many disruptions in our industry by a number of non-traditional hotel players, such as Airbnb and HomeAway. The rise in the popularity of private accommodation platforms presents opportunities as well as challenges for hotels.”
Kapoor explained that non traditional accommodation options and hotels complement each other and help to grow and diversify tourism in a destination, thus giving travellers more choice.
She declared: “We all need each other. A lot of boutique hotels are using Airbnb just the way they use OTA platforms. Typically, OTAs charge hotels a 15 to 25 per cent fee per reservation while Airbnb charges 10 to 15 per cent commission from hosts on every booking. So any hotel that needs to fill up rooms can benefit from Airbnb as one of their marketing arms.”
Referring to other facets of the sharing economy, Kapoor emphasised the need to look at the wider aspect of being a part of the digital marketplace, where the offering has to be diversified to meet the changing demographics of travellers. She explained that travel platforms need to come together with other industries in order to give a one-stop solution to the traveller that is seeking an overall experience.
Finally, explaining how Swiss-Belhotel International is leveraging existing data to capitalise on the new norm of sharing, Kapoor said: “At Swiss-Belhotel International we are well placed to take advantage of the evolving digital marketplace by listing our properties on alternative travel sites. We have integrated the CRM with real-time data in order to provide information to our guests about the ongoing events and activities across our hotels. In addition, to communicate better with our partners we are making use of the growing share of XML-API connectivity and much more.”