Airbnb has announced it will allow hotels and other accommodation providers to list on the site for the first time through an official third party distribution network.
Hotels and B&Bs have listed on Airbnb in the past but have done so independently and not through a large third party distribution service.
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 from 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. Greece-based WebHotelier says it has also had such a program in place since the summer of 2017.
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 online travel agencies which can charge as much as 30%. Airbnb will also not require hosts to sign contracts, and it will manage all payments and transactions.
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 includes 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.