Disruptors – How The Big Hotel And Lodging Companies Respond To These Challenges Will Determine Their Future – Forbes

Caravan Outpost in Ojai, CaliforniaPhoto credit: Caravan Outpost
Caravan Outpost in Ojai, CaliforniaPhoto credit: Caravan Outpost

You’ve probably stayed in major hotel chains like Hyatt, Marriott or Hilton over the years. When you make your decision about which hotel to stay in, you are probably trading off price against convenience and luxury level to figure out what works best on each trip.

Like so much happening now in consumer products, new companies are being invented that blow up the paradigm consumers have long used to make their choices. Those new competitors can charge a price that generates a greater profit because they are offering something unique. In the case of these new hotel and lodging formats, they are offering an experience that traditional providers aren’t competing with.


The first disruptors and threat to the existing lodging infrastructure were Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO. What’s so interesting about those companies now is how they are trying to expand from where they started by offering more than just accommodations. They are developing easy ways to facilitate what they call Experiences and Adventures, as well as connections to local restaurants in travel destinations. That’s not just about expanding their business, although it’s certainly that too. It’s about giving consumers what they want: experiences when they travel.

Giving consumers experiences has become the holy grail for retailers of all types and hospitality and lodging is no exception. As with other classes of consumer products, that’s particularly challenging for the big legacy brands. How do you make a Hilton hotel into an experience that’s different from what you’ve done before? It’s even harder than it is with other types of consumer products because a hotel room isn’t something you can just change overnight. It has taken billions of dollars to develop hotel rooms as they are and changing them is a big, complicated, expensive proposition. What’s more, those legacy brands were built to offer a consistent, similar experience no matter which one of their hotels they’re in. But what consumers want now is uniqueness in every location. How those big companies evolve to give consumers what they now want is not clear at all.

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