Airbnb and the unalienable right to exist

Owners of a house rented by airBnB

Guess, guess … What would be the biggest dream of an hotelier? No doubt, it would be that homeownership was prohibited. If it were up to the tourist industry, citizens would be obliged by law to rent a hotel room … of course.

No, the idea is not surreal. This is what follows from the hotel lobby actions against the explosion of the phenomenon of residential exchanges. The Airbnb concept today moves more than 9 million passengers worldwide. The lodging on offer surpasses the figure of 500,000 units, from single rooms to multi-housing properties in 33,000 cities in over 190 countries. If we compare these figures with those of hotel empires such as Marriott International, which manages 3,800 hotels and 666,000 rooms, the conclusion drawn by the dean of the division of the Preston Robert Tisch Center, Bjorn Hanson, is that Airbnb is “the biggest brand of accommodation in the world.” And it has achieved that in just seven years.

Airbnb was founded by three Americans – Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky – in 2007. After the legend of startups born in a garage, the idea was the development of an ecosystem based on accommodating friends. They called it Air, because they thought they would lodge them using inflatable mattresses, and BnB, for bed and breakfast. Continue reading

Say Goodbye to Room Service

To be or not to be in the room service

Other services have been disappearing throughout history. Or reserved for super luxury hotels such as butler service or white-glove service. So it should surprise no one that room service should disappear when this luxury is barely used by a few business travelers and guests affected by jet lag at airport hotels. 

Why wasn’t a service consisting of sending a tray with a sandwich and a soft drink to the room going to disappear? It’s expensive and no one pays for it because of the cost. In New York, you can now see some self-service windows in hallways, like the pioneering one proposed a few years ago at Hotel Casa Camper in Barcelona. The latest, parallel to the trend of pop-ups and food trucks (trucks that prepare food and serve meals in the street) is room service delivery partnering with a nearby restaurant. Its business is not reduced to the scant rooms in a hotel that may order this service at certain times.

Contrary to what people might believe, this mode of room service is not being established by lesser hotels or cutting edge or low cost niche ones. We are seeing it at Continue reading

A Six Million Dollar Cocktail

Jigger Cocktail Bar opened in Bilbao, Spain

Mixology is a great opportunity to transform your hotel bar service in new liturgies. With this tweet, I celebrated the arrival of an exceptional bartender, Diego Cabrera, to the digital “joint” of the Ruina Habitada (my Inhabited Ruin in Spain). I’ve never been in his bar, in order not to commit the sacrilege of ordering my favorite drink after wine and beer. A gin and tonic, please! But I’ve joined up with him at some Madrid balls, especially the one he encouraged me to hold more than three years ago along with other well-known bartenders to debate on the bar’s space in hotels. Rethinking the bar was the name of the gathering sponsored by the French Champagne brand Mumm. Besides Cabrera, the event was attended by Carlos Moreno, Javier Rufo, Óscar Durán, Francesco Cavagionni, DJ Johan Walt and interior designer Lorenzo Castillo. The conclusion of that group reflection could be nothing other than what was expressed Continue reading