April 17, 2021


Poppin Fresh Travel

Is Airbnb Competing With Travel Advisors?

Via a new pact with the Caribbean Tourism Business (CTO) this month, home-remain supplier Airbnb opened a new front in its marketing campaign focusing on tourists who could otherwise opt for regular lodge or resort lodging.

The Airbnb-CTO advertising initiative will promote 18 Caribbean nations, with on the net profiles of each individual nation, which includes present-day travel protocols. Airbnb customers will also receive digital newsletters highlighting traveler routines in every state.


The facts will also be showcased in an on the net Airbnb “Discover the Caribbean” area, with backlinks to just about every country’s tourism web page.

“With the Caribbean continuing to re-open up, we are aiding to usher in the protected return of vacation to this fantastic area,” said Carlos Munoz, Airbnb’s policy supervisor for Central The united states and the Caribbean. “We’re also energized to boost the essential financial influence driven by hosting on Airbnb.”

“The partnership will assist [CTO] market the area responsibly by offering our members with a platform to showcase their destinations even though at the exact time highlighting the wellbeing basic safety actions that each individual has carried out,” stated Neil Walters, the group’s acting secretary normal.

Nevertheless, while it ostensibly features Caribbean tourists expanded options, the Airbnb-CTO pact, like most programs made available up by the home-stay huge, typically leaves journey advisors cold, as Airbnb does not present agent commissions.

Antigua and Barbuda is amid 18 Caribbean nations profiled on-line through an Airbnb-CTO partnership. (Image by Brian Major)

“The CTO is seeking to support strengthen tourism, but at the identical time, they are slapping journey agents in experience since Airbnb is not agent helpful,” mentioned Jennifer Donszecz, president of VIP Holidays. “Travel agents have been actively offering the Caribbean all through this crisis and a person would have considered the CTO would advocate travel brokers in advance of partnering with Airbnb.”

Caribbean Competitors

In addition, many advisors see the company’s enterprise design as a very long-time period danger, competing instantly with advisors for shopper shoppers and vacation accommodations bookings.

While CTO has no formal ties to advisors, brokers reserve a sizeable percentage of Caribbean holidays. Cognizant of this, CTO has sought to engage advisors by a selection of promotions in latest years. Still that hasn’t led numerous advisors to look at the new partnership fondly.

“Of program advisors are [losing clients to Airbnb] and they will be in raising quantities,” claimed Richard Turen, taking care of director and owner of luxurious travel agency Churchill and Turen, Ltd.

Turen elevated a point described often by advisors contacted by TravelPulse: Airbnb’s good quality control standards are frequently inconsistent.

“They really don’t execute excellent control on their areas,” claimed Edouard Jean, operator of New York-based Large Travels. “I listen to so several tales where individuals went to the home or the property and it was not what was presented on the internet.”

Explained Turen, “One particular recent research confirmed that Uber motor vehicle back again seats contained considerably far more micro organism than the normal general public bathroom. What would be the consequence, I marvel, if a identical analyze involved unregistered, unregulated private flats and residences rented out to anyone inclined to pay out?”

Added Jean, “They really don’t get the job done with journey agents and I really don’t know if I’d work with them due to the fact they never vet their properties. You want your customers to have superior ordeals. You really do not want these kinds of problems.”

In addition to CTO, Airbnb has shaped partnerships with journey groups such as U.S. vacation spot advertising and marketing business Model United states and VISITFLORIDA, the state’s advertising and marketing team. Some advisors say the competitiveness is not for travel consumers, but for reservations.

“Dropping company to these new partnerships remains to be noticed,” mentioned Claire Schroeder, an Atlanta-based independent contractor for Elevations Vacation. “Hotels and resorts have greater protocols in place for preserving the cleanliness specifications wanted at this time.”

“But I have lost business enterprise in the past to Airbnb,” Schroeder mentioned, “specifically in pricey cities these as New York, London, Rome and Paris. I have experienced clientele have a terrific Airbnb practical experience and then knowledge a truly tough situation with [Airbnb] with minor assistance for the issues encountered.”

COVID-19 Influence

In truth, some advisors say the COVID-19 pandemic may well give Airbnb an edge above standard resorts and resorts.

“I am not getting rid of purchasers to Airbnb but yes, I am getting rid of bookings to them,” stated Holly Lombardo of Comprehensive Vacation Organizing Expert services. “Particularly in gentle of COVID-19 exactly where tourists stay drawn to a dwelling-absent-from-house reunion with close friends and loved ones.”

Like other advisors, Lombardo also emphasized a absence of high-quality control with Airbnb accommodations. “When clients request me if I perform with corporations like Airbnb I politely make clear I do not,” she said.

“Apart from the reality there is no payment, there is no way I can qualify these rentals for excellent and support should really some thing go awry,” Lombardo explained. “I just are unable to put myself in a situation exactly where I can’t fully stand driving who I refer to my valued clientele.”

Lombardo also pointed out that troubles bordering adjustments and cancellations, so essential in this period of pandemic-impacted closures, symbolize a different place of prospective worry for vacationers who e-book Airbnb lodging.

“A personal friend of mine had a $7,000 [Airbnb] booking previous April for a rental in Florida,” stated Lombardo. “Thanks to COVID, legally they could not vacation to Florida, and the proprietor refused to refund their $7,000. They exhausted every single avenue and the owner gave them a long run stay to be applied in six months,” she mentioned. “They lost it all.”

Stephen Scott
“We need to have to come across a way to do the identical factor in a collective way ourselves.” said Stephen Scott, Travel Hub 365. (Courtesy Vacation Hub 365)

Some travel advisors say the option lies in seeking equal footing with Airbnb. “We want to come across a way to do the same thing in a collective way ourselves,” stated Stephen Scott, founder and CEO of Travel Hub 365. “Our company is developing our have travel app and web-site for the direct buyer termed the Odyssey Journey App.”

Mentioned Scott, “We realize that from time to time vacationers e-book on-line, and in some cases they guide with an advisor. The messaging has to occur by way of from all parts, and we must inspire it from each individual booking channel.”

In actuality, some advisors see very little motive for problem. “I assume this will have minimal appeal so it would not worry me at all,” mentioned Cal Chensey of Bucket List Travel and Excursions. “I consider that most customers continue to want the vacation resort practical experience with dining establishments and things to do,” he stated.

“It might be appealing to folks for the next handful of months, but at the time anyone has the vaccines, this market sector is not going to affect our organization.”

Claudette Covey contributed to this report.