Maybe it’s just something you notice more the older you get, but it seems like the English language is taking on new words and phrases faster than ever. Some of them come from the world of politics, some from entertainment. Some of them come from tech and some from a business. One phrase that has originated from both of the latter, and has been everywhere you look this year, is “sharing economy.“
Instead of having to book a taxi, we can now search for and book a lift using an app. Instead of finding a hotel, people are now renting a room in someone’s house. It’s a way for ordinary drivers and homeowners to make some more cash, and for voyagers to arrange things on the move.
Well, it sounds like good news for all concerned, doesn’t it? Except, naturally, if you run a small hotel or guest house. Years of building a business now seem like they’re being jeopardized by people who’ve used an app to create more residual income.
These are testing times, especially as guest houses have had to meet certain rules and regulations. As of this moment, efforts are afoot to get b companies to comply with these regulations. But it’s easier to ask forgiveness than seek permission. How successful those efforts will be is still open to question.
So how do you, the guest house owner, possibly hope to compete with the Johnny-come-latelies? It takes some effort and ingenuity, but it can be done.
Firstly, people still set some store by expertise, so you have to make sure you’re hitting that out of the park. One stay too many in a bad hotel can send people to the newbies. So ensure that any staff you have are professional and courteous. Make sure your food is restaurant-quality. There’s a novelty to being served breakfast in someone else’s house, sure. But to make the experience better, make sure you serve yours on pristine hotel and catering table runners.
Secondly, everyone uses the internet to do pretty much anything these days. That includes booking accommodation – so make sure you have a website and that it is alluring and informative. Make it SEO-perfect so when people search your area, you’re who they find. They’re already using the internet, and AirBnB is mere clicks away if they don’t immediately find what they want.
Finally, if you can’t beat them, join them! Or join them and also beat them. There is nothing to stop existing guest house and hotel owners listing vacant rooms on room-sharing sites. Indeed, many already are.
As a preference, you’ll get full occupancy without having to jump through an additional set of hoops. But in many ways, it’s easier for you than it is for general householders. The fact that you’re an existing lessor may well be a selling point, in renter’s eyes.
The modern world of business is a tricky one to navigate, but the commitment to quality and smart use of what’s available to you helps. There’s no reason you need to fear the latest developments in tech. Embrace them, be great at what you do, and you can discover opportunity where others are finding the crisis.