Before I start, let me begin by saying that I have stayed at both hotels and share economy style housing, like AirBnb. Both provided shelter, a place to lay my head at night, and most importantly a bathroom. But the difference is more of an emotional one and many people are beginning to realize that.
According to a 2016 survey done by MMGY about the global portrait of American travelers, featured in Joe Pike’s article, Millennial Agents Talk Airbnb, 56% of millennials are interested in a share-economy style of hospitality.
At the moment, the most popular Share Economy Style Housing service is AirBnb.
According to the AirBnb website:
AirBnb is an American company which operates an online marketplace and hospitality service for people to lease or rent short-term lodging including holiday cottages, apartments, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms. Like most hospitality services, AirBnb is an example of collaborative consumption and sharing. The company has over 4 million lodging listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries and has facilitated over 260 million check-ins.
So, what makes that any different than a hotel? The answer is the environment. You are living in someone’s space. It has character, and instead of feeling like one is staying in a carbon-copy room, many feel like they are staying in a home. Whether you have the place to yourself, or get to experience your time with roommates, or the host themselves, it provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new environment with new people that live in the location you’re traveling to. Meeting these people allows the person staying there to get first hand recommendations from locals about where to eat and what to do. While there is nothing wrong with going to a hotel and picking up a marketing brochure about the top ten most popular tourist attractions, that experience is simply not the kind of experience I had ever enjoyed as much.
The difference between a hotel and an AirBnb is like hiring 2 employees; one of which has a great resume and the other whom has incredible character. Hotels look great on paper. They’re clean, organized, and often engineered by architects, interior designers, and landscapers to look like paradise. But is any of that authentic? You may hire that employee with a great resume, but he or she may lack a certain spirit, or soul that is so important to the core of what you want to find.
Don’t get me wrong, renting an AirBnb is not a guarantee that you will have a life changing, soul-shaping experience that will alter your life’s manifesto from that very moment on. But will you be able to say you experienced something more authentically?
So what do you think? Have you experienced both types of hospitality? Which do you prefer, and why? Leave your comments above: