Google and Amazon move into travel industry, whether will Airbnb still exist?
For all the chatter of Airbnb stealing scene time away from hotels, traveler interest in home-sharing seems to be waning.
According to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers study, which surveyed nearly 3,000 US adults that have taken at least one trip over the past 12 months, just 33% of respondents are interested in sharing economy accommodations, down from 41% in 2017 and 37% in 2016.
Comparatively, 75% express interest in large branded hotels, while 66% are interested in suite-based properties and 61% want limited-service branded hotels. Some 20% of respondents say they used sharing economy accommodations at least once during the past 12 months, down from 22% in 2017, with 14% using Airbnb and 5% using VRBO or HomeAway.
According to the survey, the top three reasons travelers dislike home-sharing are because they don’t want to share vacation accommodations with strangers (71%), they prefer the locations of hotels (66%) and they don’t believe the quality of home shares matches that of hotels (50%).
1. It starts with Google
The report also finds that to search for travel information and prices, travelers turn to Google the most at 41%, up from 40% in 2017 and 32% in 2016.
Google is the go-to search starting point across all generations except the mature audience, who prefer researching via specific airline brand websites at 36%. After Google, 37% of millennials and Gen Xers turn to Expedia, and 36% of baby boomers visit TripAdvisor.
Despite no formal travel search or booking offerings, Amazon is also high on places travelers wish to book all aspects of their vacations, with 41% saying they would consider the platform, up from 36% in 2017.
2. New technologies
Although 23% of survey respondents say they’ve used a smart speaker such as Amazon Echo or Google Home over the past 12 months, only 6% have used the devices to research or book travel.
Just 8% of travelers have used virtual reality such as GoPro VR or Samsung VR, and of those, only 3% have used VR to search for or book travel. Smart assistants such as chatbots are also used infrequently, with 6% saying they’ve used one during the past 12 months and only 3% saying they’ve booked via the technology.
Voice search has been used by 10% of travelers for vacation planning and booking, and of those, 67% have used voice search on their smartphone, with 37% using voice search on their laptop and 36% via tablet.
Of the new technologies, augmented reality such as WikiTude or Yelp Monacle is the least-used at 2%, with just 1% of travelers using AR to research or book travel in the past 12 months.