Airbnb is to allow hotels and other accommodation providers
to list on the site for the first time through an official third-party
SiteMinder will be the first platform to act as a channel
manager on a global scale so that its portfolio of properties can be featured
alongside existing properties form Airbnb hosts.
The deal is not exclusive, with SiteMinder the first of a
number of distribution platforms expected to be given connection rights to
Airbnb over time.
The connection will be available from March 2018 but
SiteMinder has been working with a select number of hotels in different markets
around the world to test the service.
Hotels and B&Bs have listed on Airbnb in the past but
have done so independently and not through a third-party distribution service.
In a signal Airbnb has the online travel agencies in its
sights, the company says it will charge a service fee for hotels and
accommodation providers in the region of 3% to 5% -- much lower, it claims,
than that of OTAs which can charge as much as 30%. Airbnb will also not require
hosts to sign contracts, and it will manage all payments and transactions.
SiteMinder has more than 28,000 hotels connected to its
channel manager platform and says it anticipates "quite significant
interest" in the opportunity to list on Airbnb from within its customer
Managing director Mike Ford says: "We're excited. The
Airbnb story is quite phenomenal and to be a part of that, to have been
selected as their first global hotel technology partner, to be able to work
together with the Airbnb team on their first real-time connection so they can
better support hotel businesses the world over, that's exciting."
Airbnb says it will retain a level of quality control over
the properties coming down the distribution pipe from SiteMinder -- meaning
they will have to meet certain criteria such as unique design characteristics,
inclusion of local influences, access to common gathering spaces and
high-quality photography on their content pages.
The company also wants to include properties that offer
local tours, use local produce and beverages.
Airbnb is expected to allow chain hotels to participate in
the program but is pushing the "unique experience" angle from those
it wants to list on the site.
But, in short, any accommodation type is welcome, from
boutique hotels, lodges, timeshares and hostels to ryokans in Japan, pensions
in Korea and so-called "heritage hotels" in India.
The expansion of the Airbnb service to allow third-party
distribution is the first significant change to the core product in a number of
Much attention has been placed on the strategy and growth of
its Experiences product (allowing hosts and others to provide tours and activities
to guests), plus the long-rumored launch of a product or partnership to allow
some form of flight search.
The last significant change to the original service came in
2015 when it started targeting business travelers with properties catering
specifically for road warriors.
This development later saw the signing of a number of deals
with business travel property management providers such as BridgeStreet.
When it comes to external distribution, Airbnb switched off
its affiliate program for most third-party sites in late 2015 but came back to
the fold a year later when it signed an agreement with Travel.jp in Japan to
list its properties on the metasearch sites.
Other travel accommodation search engines are still mostly
out in the cold and do not have an official plug-in to content listed on the
Cameron Houser, Airbnb's program manager for hotels, says: "Small
hotels and B&Bs have long used Airbnb and now we're building new tools and
partnerships to help these local businesses thrive. We are dedicated to working
with small hospitality businesses that excel at offering the best guest
experiences and living our mission of belonging and we couldn't ask for a
better partner than SiteMinder."