Over the last decade over 80 new hotel and home sharing brands have been launched including a combined 20 new brands by the largest five chains since 2013, including five over the past 18 months. One could assume this indicates that hotel chains and entrepreneurs are innovating on the customer experience, right?
Not really. Baird senior research analyst Michael Bellisario recently told Business Travel News that big hotel chains are becoming less hotel companies and more booking/reservation platforms, making money through franchised brands rather than directly managing hotels.
In other words, hotels and urban development focused home sharing brands such as Sonder and Lyric are micro-segmented real estate products. Their development strategy to address product and shelf space first, architecture and design differentiation second and customer service third or preferably not at all. And their preference is to out-source management, or in the case of the new home sharing brands, bet on automation, as much as possible.