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Freeman Cebu Business

Hotels told to shape up as Airbnb gains ground

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Hotels need to shape up before home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb totally eat up their share in the accommodation industry.

Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists (CATOS) president Alice Queblatin made this suggestion as she observed a remarkable shift of travelers’ preferences towards affordable accommodations like Airbnb.

Queblatin said travelers who prefer to book cheaper accommodations are no longer limited to the budget-conscious-backpacker type of tourists, noting that affluent families or individual travelers are also starting to shift towards Airbnb.

“Hotels have to shape up and improve their value added services, highlighting their exemplary services in order to lure guests,” said Queblatin who is also wary of the effect of Airbnb to the traditional hotel business.

She reiterated that hotels should hype up on their service, and highlight anything that Airbnb cannot provide.

Queblatin who owns a travel agency, Southwind Travel and Tour, said value added services like safety, credibility, and sophistication in customer service are just few of the lures that hotels should capitalize on.

While the high luxury market are still there, like those who have money to pay for comfort, hotels which are selling P3,000 and below per night are heavily affect by the Airbnb.

On the other hand, she said travel agencies are still promoting hotel bookings for their clients out of ethical practice, although they cannot force their customers if they opt to stay book through Airbnb.

“We don’t even push Airnb” she said.

Queblatin, however, welcomed DOT’s decision to release rules and regulations to Airbnb providers.

She said regulations should be imposed to this new home sharing accommodation ecosystem in order to level the playing field. (FREEMAN)

ALICE QUEBLATIN

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