Plato’s strategy lead Richie Connell experiences a few new world business models while in Europe with AuCom. Here’s his take on Airbnb, his accommodation provider in Hannover.
Hannover Messe is a big deal. I’ve only been here for half a day, but already everything has been brought to a halt by President Obama and his motorcade. There’s a serious amount of security on the go (as you’d expect) and there’s actually quite a tense atmosphere. Well, a lot of serious faces at the very least.
However, whilst ‘The Prez’ enjoys his 6 star accommodation somewhere, I’m taking my first Airbnb experience here in Hannover. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that when I jumped online to book a hotel for this week, the level of extortion for a single bed in the local Best Western was too hard to swallow. This presented a couple of options, either stay out of town and commute, or try another approach. Step in Airbnb, and your network of willing hosts. For a fraction of the price of the Best Western, I’m spending a few nights with a nice couple in their apartment dead in the centre of town.
Who can fault the thinking behind the likes of Airbnb? In fact considering the enormous success and their 6-12 percent fee for every transaction, you can’t but wish you’d thought of it first. A fair night’s accommodation for a fair price. To all those hotels that take the opportunity to gouge when you can, there are other options for the consumer. And they tend have a bit more personality than a hotel room. So this impressive business model that doesn’t own any hotels, but provides accommodation pushes the right buttons.
It’s never going to be a perfect experience, but you get to meet different people, find out where the good places to eat and it’s fun. Yes, I said fun.