Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International, stops by LinkedIn Studios to discuss the state of the hospitality industry. Find out how Airbnb and the sharing economy has impacted the hotel business, plus hear Sorenson’s thoughts on what Airbnb might have to do next.
Below is an edited transcript of the interview:
AMY CHEN, EDITOR AT LINKEDIN: Let’s talk about Airbnb and the sharing economy. Marriott has been around close to 90 years, but in the past 7 years, Airbnb has really emerged as this new force in the hospitality industry. What is it that you think they’re doing so well?
ARNE SORENSON: Well they’ve tapped into something that something — this sharing economy — that is very interesting. They have something like 1 million listings around the world. Now those are not quite like hotel rooms. They might not necessarily be available every night, depending on who the host is. I think their hosts are very loyal to them, maybe more so than their guest who stays overnight, because they’ve given their hosts a way to monetize an empty bedroom, a second home, an extra house, an extra apartment, when it’s not being used. People appreciate the ability to make some money, I think, from that. So far, it’s been more interesting than it has been threatening. But only time will tell on this.
I think we’ll see whether it evolves from being primarly leisure, primarily value (lower-rated stays, which is where it started, and where the sharing economy is probably at its most powerful). And if it stays in that space, it won’t be hugely important to us. That doesn’t mean it won’t have some impact, but it probably won’t be hugely important to us.
I think most business travelers still would prefer some of the safety and security aspects – the predictability aspects, the services that are associated with a hotel.
I think for [Airbnb] — this is an issue that pops up in lots of different cities and states — I think they’re going to have to undoubtedly pay lodging taxes if they’re in this business. I think it’s something most cities and states will want, and it’s obviously sort of a fair, equal proposition.
Read Arne Sorenson’s related Influencer post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/state-hospitality-want-transparent-company-willing-do-arne-sorenson
Moderator: Amy Chen
Camera & Mix: Dan Mills
Art & Animations: Jacqueline Zaccor
Producer: Florencia Iriondo