A few weeks ago Airbnb announced that they would be acquiring Hotel Tonight. This was a surprise - throughout its history Airbnb has made a point to compete with hotels and my gut was that hotels would not be too happy to partner with a competitor. I understand that Airbnb is trying to grow before their inevitable IPO and to do so they need to invest in growth. I also subscribe to the argument that from their standpoint they’re focused on giving people a place to stay and not necessarily that concerned with the exact medium - private rental or hotel or whatever else.

It’s just surprising that hotels would go along with this. On one hand they have a room that will be unfilled and HotelTonight is an option that gives them immediate revenue. On the other hand it’s supporting a competitor which in turns makes customers less likely to book a hotel directly the next time. Maybe this isn’t a problem since unless you’re a business or frequent traveler you use an aggregator/hotel search engine already. Ultimately I think this will be an interesting case study to see whether Airbnb’s consumer relationship is strong enough to overcome the resistance of the hotels themselves.


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