What does a hotel chain do well?
- Operate a reservation system to sell room nights
- Provide housekeeping (debatable)
- Identify convenient locations
- Design locations with the appropriate services
Everything else in hotel management is not a core competency or outsourced.
What does Airbnb do well?
- Operate a reservation system to sell under utilized assets as accomodations
What would happen if Airbnb bought a hotel?
- They should sell the rooms to individual investors
- They should outsource all of the required services
- They should cancel the franchise/brand agreement with the hotel chain
- They would be the exclusive provider of the reservation system for the "hotel"
Following this strategy, Airbnb would strip out much of the "overhead" in hotel operations. This additional cash flow could flow to the investor and/or to the guest in reduced room rates. Such a strategy would also give Airbnb better control over its available room inventory and the ability to predictably grow that "asset".
Selling services to consumers using under utilized assets (rooms, cars, etc.) may just be in its early stages. But selling off all those hotel rooms to investors suggests that investment bankers may become the driving force in this trend.
Also, the investment bankers need a new class of real estate asset--hotel rooms--to play with.