take the change
Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, May 13th in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the travel business today.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses Airbnb’s efforts on multiple fronts to increase consumer confidence, what Marriott sees as a secret advantage in the vacation rental market, and the latest hot spots for digital nomads.
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Airbnb announced this week that it is expanding the number of search categories on its website and app — a move the company said it took to increase consumer confidence in the platform, according to a report by senior hospitality editor Sean O’Neill.
Katherine Powell, Airbnb’s global head of hosting, told Skift founder and CEO Raafat Ali at Skift’s Future of Lodging Forum in New York on Thursday that changing consumer behavior and shifts in travel bookings prompted the online travel agency to create 56 search categories on its platform. . She said many consumers are new to Airbnb and short-term rental properties, so the company believes the expanded rating will help them find what they’re looking for and eliminate any uncertainty about booking accommodations.
Thereafter, the Marriott Homes and Villas unit is taking a different approach from its holiday home rental competitors in terms of increasing its customer base. It’s using its loyalty program as a way to drive growth, reports Madhu Unnikrishnan, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
In a discussion with Skift’s senior hospitality editor, Sean O’Neill at the forum on Thursday, Unit Vice President Jennifer Hsieh said that unlike its competitors, Homes & Villas is its loyalty program – Marriott Bonvoy – an asset. Bonvoy Homes and Villas offers a wealth of information about each client’s preferences, enabling the unit to tailor the types of rentals it believes will appeal to an individual guest. Hsieh cited the example of homes and villas that provide a list of ski resorts for potential guests who love to ski.
Marriott Bonvoy members are responsible for approximately one-third of unit reservations. But Hsieh acknowledged that Homes & Villas needs to do a better job of providing customers with a smoother online experience, which the company believes the app it is developing will help it achieve this.
Finally, travel patterns common among the growing digital backpacker segment are emerging, corporate travel editor Matthew Parsons reports in this week’s The Future of Work Brief.
Sam Khazari, Selina’s senior vice president of global corporate development, said at the forum this week that his company has discovered that Central and South America has emerged as hotspots for digital nomads. Khazari added that digital nomads from some countries tend to travel to certain destinations, citing Panama’s popularity with remote workers from Israel as an example. Selena is well positioned to capitalize on the digital nomad’s interest in traveling to Central and South America, where two-thirds of the company’s portfolio is located.