Cold beds for ski resorts are a nightmare. In recent years, the rise of Airbnb has helped to change the amount of vacation homes that come into play as hot beds instead of cold beds. Airbnb has created a platform where it is safe, easy and flexible to rent lodging and is changing the way the lodging industry operates.
Alexis Dussillol, Airbnb's France Ski Markets Manager, shares the successes and challenges of turning cold beds into hot beds with Airbnb and its effect on the community.
Please explain how Airbnb works with mountain destinations.
Airbnb operates as a regular OTA that has supply in which we bring demand. At the moment we do not have any partnerships with mountain destinations. The relationship we have is for the tourist tax (for instance in the 14 biggest French resorts).
What impact is the presence of Airbnb having on mountain destinations?
Airbnb brings a new supply (cold beds) and a new demand (international travelers, millennials, short and last minute stays in shoulder seasons, etc.) to mountain destinations. It also allows resorts to collect tourist tax on RBO where they generally struggle.
You started out working with just private home owners but now you are working with professional property managers. How has that changed the way you are doing business in the mountains?
This provides a huge leverage and we do not need to partner with resorts to build supply. However we had to build a new ecosystem for PM -- tech (API, new UX...), human (market coordinators and managers) and legal (change in cancellation policies).
For those not familiar with the terms, what is a cold bed and what is a hot bed?
Cold bed: unrented lodgings (used only by the owner and his relatives)
Hot bed: rented lodgings with high occupancy rate
Explain how Airbnb is helping destinations turn cold beds into hot beds and how that benefits the community.
Airbnb has created a platform where it is safe, easy and flexible to rent lodging. We have created awareness around Airbnb with ski destination in ski resorts by organizing meetups. For these meetups, the ski resort invites its non-renters and Airbnb organizes the event, speaks and pays).
This benefits the community as cold beds are a nightmare for ski resorts (no new supply, not enough supply in peak season) and we collect tourist tax for these owners who would have certainly struggled collecting it on behalf of their destination.
What is your biggest challenge working with mountain destinations?
Our biggest challenge working with mountain destinations is the fear of the new guy in town. Another challenge would be aligning our quality standards to the standards in ski resorts. It can be a challenge to find a maid (if not Saturday) or a listing with the beds made at arrival.
What makes mountain destinations unique and appealing to Airbnb to work with?
This is a huge business opportunity for us. It flattens summer seasonality and launching Trips will be an interesting challenge.
What are you most looking forward to at EMTS?
I’m looking forward to meeting new people, learn about this exciting business, and position Airbnb as a key player in this industry.
WANT TO HEAR MORE FROM Alexis dussillol?
He’ll be speaking indepth about Airbnb at his EMTS session, Turning Cold Beds Into Hot Beds. Learn more about Alexis's session and his background, as well as others taking the stage at EMTS 9-11 January in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.