Is Airbnb’s latest acquisition a signal of sights on hotels and wider hospitality
As Airbnb announces plans to spend circa $465 million acquiring HotelTonight, the deal surely signals intent to further expand the company’s customer proposition with hotels.
HotelTonight provides a service for people looking for last-minute hotel bookings, the acquisition of HotelTonight would be Airbnb’s largest to date.
On news of the acquisition Airbnb’s CEO, Mark Chesky set out a strategy to expand into all aspects of travel including hotels. Chesky said: “A big part of building an end-to-end travel platform is serving every guest, whether they plan their trip a year or a day in advance.”
The acquisition looks to bolster Airbnb’s valuation as preparation to go public continues, although there is no specified timescale on this. US market analysts currently value Airbnb in the $30 – $35 billion range with the move on HotelTonight seen as generally positive.
Airbnb through a hotel booking like service called Airbnb Plus already lists a broad range of hotel categories from boutique to budget.
Last month Fred Reid, former CEO at Virgin America was brought into the senior management team at Airbnb to create wider partnerships in the industry.
Is this recent activity collectively signalling Airbnb’s transformation from a platform for people looking for a spare room into a goliath version of the hotel incumbents it began to replace just over a decade ago.
Airbnb now provides access to 5+ million unique places to stay in more than 81,000 cities and 191 countries. If you read the company’s mission statement it ends with “Airbnb is a hospitality company”.