The success of Airbnb has created a major disruption in how people choose where to stay when they visit other places. Instead of assuming a hotel is the best or only option, a selection of private accommodation is often more interesting, cheaper and more flexible. At the same time, the increasing rate of globalization means that working in a foreign country is easier than ever. This has led to the rise of global citizens and digital nomads, people who are progressively looking for a highly flexible lifestyle where the lines between work, sleep and play are increasingly converging.
Technology meets hospitality
To meet these trends, startups are now presenting hospitality in various forms. While the target market and value proposition may differ from company to company, what largely sets them apart from traditional hotels and BnBs is the technology at their core.
Where possible, technology is used to rethink and automate processes. This is being used to identify and acquire real estate, design and furnish rooms/ units, manage day-to-day operations and more. For example, Sonder (a tech-driven hospitality company offering beautiful spaces in major cities around the world) sources buildings by using tech to narrow down which buildings meet local regulatory requirements for short-term rentals. It then uses machine learning to analyze data on revenue generated by nearby hotels and Airbnb units to forecast what price guests will pay and what occupancy it can expect.
Global citizens and short-term rentals
The increasing rate of globalization means that working in a foreign country is easier than ever. However, until recently, finding temporary accommodation was very complicated, costly, and time-consuming. Hotels are too expensive for extensive stays and unfurnished apartments are simply impractical. Companies such as Homelike are focusing on just this – providing flexible leases where tenants can stay for a month or over a year. Everything is done online, making finding a place to sleep and signing a lease as simple as booking a hotel room.
Digital nomads and experienced based hospitality
Digital nomads have taken the concept of global citizens one step further, seeking to be able to work from any location around the world whenever they choose. This has led to a more experience-based type of hospitality, where one can live and work comfortably while and at the same time, explore and experience the local area. Roam, a global community of coliving and coworking spaces allows individuals to sign a single lease and then “roam” among their global properties, staying for a week or a lifetime. Selina as another example offers boutique hostel-style operations where occupants have access to a great working environment as well as beautiful accommodation. Daily experiences such as surfing, yoga and cooking classes are always on offer as well as organized social events and parties.