Travelers are increasingly seeking unique and authentic experiences that go beyond the traditional hotel stay. This used to be only Airbnb/VRBO, but not anymore. This growing trend has given rise to alternative accommodation options, offering diverse and immersive experiences for travelers worldwide. In this article, we will delve into some of the most popular alternative accommodation options available today, how bedbanks and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) can gain access to these options, and the key considerations for adding them to their offerings.
The Rise of Alternative Accommodation Options:
Over the past decade, alternative accommodation options have disrupted the hospitality sector, reshaping the way people experience travel. While hotels remain a preferred choice for many travelers, the rise of alternative accommodations has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Some of the most popular alternative options include:
a. Vacation Rentals: Vacation rental platforms, like Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway, have revolutionized the travel landscape. They allow property owners to rent out their homes, apartments, or even unique properties like treehouses and yurts to travelers, providing them with a more homely and personalized experience.
b. Hostels: Catering primarily to budget-conscious travelers and backpackers, hostels offer shared dormitory-style accommodations and communal spaces, fostering a social and communal atmosphere.
c. Boutique and Design Hotels: These hotels often focus on a specific theme, design, or architectural concept, providing guests with a distinctive and memorable stay.
d. Glamping: Combining the luxury of a hotel with the serenity of camping, glamping (glamorous camping) offers unique accommodations like safari tents, yurts, or eco-pods, often in picturesque natural settings.
e. Homestays: Homestays allow travelers to live with local hosts, experiencing the destination through their eyes and gaining insight into the local culture and way of life.
Accessing Alternative Accommodation Options for Bedbanks and OTAs:
For bedbanks and OTAs to tap into the vast potential of alternative accommodation options, they must adapt their strategies and partnerships. Here are some ways they can gain access to these options:
a. Collaborating with Vacation Rental Platforms: Partnering with established vacation rental platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo can provide bedbanks and OTAs with access to a wide array of unique properties worldwide. Such partnerships often involve integrating APIs or utilizing channel managers for seamless booking processes.
b. Building Alliances with Boutique Properties: To offer boutique and design hotels, bedbanks and OTAs should focus on establishing direct relationships with the property owners or management companies. Negotiating commission rates and having a robust property management system can facilitate smoother collaborations.
c. Aggregating Homestay Offerings: Bedbanks and OTAs can create dedicated sections for homestays on their platforms, sourcing properties from various local hosts and verified partners. Building trust and transparency are essential in this context, as travelers prioritize safety and authenticity.
d. Incorporating Hostel Networks: Collaborating with major hostel networks can grant bedbanks and OTAs access to a global inventory of hostels, appealing to a younger, more adventurous demographic of travelers.
Considerations for Adding Alternative Accommodations to Offerings:
While integrating alternative accommodation options into the offerings of bedbanks and OTAs can open new revenue streams and attract a broader customer base, several key considerations must be taken into account:
a. Quality Control: Ensuring the quality and consistency of alternative accommodations is vital to maintaining customer satisfaction. Implementing a thorough vetting process and collecting feedback from guests can help guarantee the properties meet the necessary standards.
b. Local Regulations: Compliance with local regulations is crucial for alternative accommodation providers. Bedbanks and OTAs should educate their partners about legal requirements and monitor their adherence to avoid potential issues.
c. Technology Integration: Seamless integration of alternative accommodations into existing platforms is essential for a smooth user experience. This involves investing in advanced APIs, user-friendly interfaces, and robust search filters.
d. Customer Support: Providing reliable customer support is essential when dealing with alternative accommodations, as they might have unique features or requirements. Having a dedicated support team can assist travelers and property owners alike.
e. Competitive Pricing: Offering competitive pricing can attract more travelers to alternative accommodations. Price comparisons with nearby hotels can help potential guests make informed decisions.
The surge in alternative accommodation options signifies a paradigm shift in the travel industry, emphasizing unique experiences, local immersion, and authenticity. As travelers seek diverse and memorable stays, bedbanks and OTAs must adapt and include these options in their offerings. By partnering with vacation rental platforms, boutique properties, and hostel networks, and addressing quality, technology, regulations, and pricing, bedbanks and OTAs can provide travelers with a plethora of alternative accommodations, enriching their travel experiences in ways hotels alone cannot achieve.