Skift's Dennis Schaal writes that the pronouncement by business and real estate podcaster Nick Huber that Google will kill Airbnb is unfounded, though some think otherwise with the contention that both guests and hosts prefer direct booking that incurs no service fees. Huber asserted that Airbnb takes 25 percent of the booking transaction, mostly from guests, which travel industry veteran Drew Patterson refuted by stating that Airbnb revenue was only 13 percent of gross bookings last year. Schaal notes that while hotels have made great progress in the direct booking space, most of them still depend on online travel agencies to draw price-conscious consumers. "Property owners use Airbnb for a reason: Airbnb has a great brand, and attracts legions of guests who start searching for places to stay on Airbnb instead of beginning their trip-planning on Google," he writes. Schaal adds that while guests can avoid Airbnb's fees through direct booking, "they run the risk of having no one to turn to if the host or property turn out to be a nightmare." Moreover, Google's own vacation rentals feature has done little to threaten Airbnb's business, because it and other major vacation rental brands have avoided listing properties through Google's shingle. "Airbnb critics will be quick to say that Airbnb's customer service for guests can be challenging, but it's often better than dealing with hosts who have no brand or track record to stand behind them," Schaal writes.
Skift.com (08/29/22) Dennis Schaal