Airbnb differs in many ways from traditional hotel chains. Among the differences: Whereas every major hotel group has a robust loyalty program, Airbnb has none. But that may be set to change.
In a tweet earlier this week, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky posed the following question: “If Airbnb had a guest membership program, what benefits would you want?”
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Here are some of the suggestions from Chesky’s followers:
Concierge or a call number! I often arrive at odd hours and it causes issues.
Access to fitness nearby. It’s the only perk that I still really care about from hotels.
Top members to get early access to super unique rentals that always get booked up way in advance.
Accrue points good for a free or discounted stay (a la Hilton, Hyatt etc). Make it dismally small, it’s okay. It’s a way for biz travelers to convert paid travel to leisure travel. Massively opens market up to biz travelers.
This sounds sort of weird, but I would usually be game to connect with other people traveling/airbnbing to hang out. Likely some type of interest overlap and shared sense of ‘adventure’. A chat board for other folks in the same area on Airbnb would maybe get it done.
Keeping my luggage somewhere after check out, if there is not an option to check out later. So I can enjoy my last day also. Solve this problem, and you would give me an extra half of day to my trip.
Flexible on minimum stay requirements
How about a partnership scheme with local restaurants? For example show your booking reference and get 20% off your food bill as participating restaurants. A scaleable rollout and encourages visitors to explore their new “home town” as locals
Chesky actively interacted with the commenters, reinforcing the case that he’s seriously considering rolling our a loyalty program in the nearish future. Disappointingly, he was noticeably cool to the idea of awarding points redeemable for free nights.
If the goal is to better compete with the likes of Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt, a frequent-guest scheme that rewards members with free stays would seem to be a minimum requirement. To create a compelling program without free nights would be a neat trick, indeed. It remains to be seen whether Chesky will try, and whether he can succeed.
Reader Reality Check
What would you like to see in an Airbnb loyalty scheme?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.