Well, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) and other tourism geniuses in Greece continue losing their collective minds over Airbnb’s successes. News this week about €1.15 billion in turnover from Airbnb and HomeAway seems like a bur under the saddle of some.
INSETE has calculated that independent lodgings accounted for 1.08 billion euros of the total, with the average vacancy estimated at 53%, and an average daily rate of €146 euros. The bean counters at the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) have also determined that the average revenue per property was €77 euros, which equaled €8,912 per property per year NOT hitting hotel coffers.
To make the panic worse, Euromonitor total short-term lease figures reached almost €10 billion for 2018. But, with all the shouting about short-term rentals taking bigger pieces of the touristic pie, no one is talking about the obvious. GTP reports INSETE yelling that “the short-term rental market in Greece needs to be regulated immediately.” But the trend seems to be being missed altogether by tourism geniuses. Let me explain.
I recently reported on the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels losing its cool over Airbnb. They don’t “get it” for the same reason TUI and other cattle moving all-inclusive hospitality movers don’t. They’re cemented into two dimensional thinking about hospitality in Greece. The hotel business is anchored to bricks and mortar thinking it seems. TUI and the rest spend billions creating a market for seaside buffets that ditch diggers in Germany can afford, they make it profitable, and then they just want to let it run – forEVER. Along comes Airbnb, and WHAMMO!
But what does Airbnb’s success in Greece mean? Are short-term rental guests not WITH the lunch buffet and swimming pool program? Is self-catering bringing about a cheaper price reason enough to book a villa or apartment? NO. Airbnb profits are rising partly because people want a more genuine experience and individual one. The trend shows that prime tourism is not about a chuckwagon dinner bell being rung three times a day. The trend shows that the beach experience with a big pool added, is losing ground to a Cretan village holiday (for instance) where travelers get something more real.
Duh. And highly paid accountants and Swiss hospitality school geniuses cannot figure it out? No, the TUI and Hellenic Chapter way is to get politicians to fix their problems. But how come some giant money bags billionaire doesn’t develop a real answer to Airbnb? What about a series of traditional Greek bungalows, or apartments by the sea, or whole villages developed at purpose? Hell no. That would be innovative investing. Nobody in Greece can see that far.
For several years now I’ve been hammering TUI in its greedy little German banker head. Until Thomas Cook went belly up, I tried to warn them their goose would be cooked if they did not change. And the Greek hoteliers? Well, they just figured out they needed digital marketing – just the other day. But why am I so hardcore pissed at this situation? Well, people often misunderstand me. I want TUI to succeed, you see.
The last 20 years in PR and digital business I’ve seen a lot. When we first starting our operations even the giant public relations firms had no clue as to how to deal with the emerging digital trend. We taught them. Really, we did. Hoteliers? They were second to last to adopt right behind the real estate bunch, who still cannot get their game right. Lip service. Penny pinching. Pretending to be digital, or green, or sustainable, lust plain lying about intentions and capability – the business of digital and online became one great big line of bullshit. And so did all other sectors, for a while.
Now we come face to face with reality. Not everybody wants to be shacked up next door to his or her fellow herd animal. Most people, in fact, had rather go it their own way if the choice is getting something authentic. Sure, the hotel, resort, and all-inclusive experience will always be popular for many, but that “growth” is now stagnant. Get it? STAGNANT! You cannot create more of it by passing regulations to beat up your competitor. READ ME. And get this, Airbnb reacts quickly to challenges to their business growth, unlike the dinosaur slow hotels businesses.
So, how do hotels and resorts compete? By reorganizing how they think, what they offer, and the level of value they provide, that’s how. As for controlling the market, I’ll save my expertise to feather my retirement nest with. Let me just say this. If Richard Branson were to give me about €5 billion euro, I could run every hotel and resort on Crete slap out of business in two years. How’s that for a Greek Tourism Confederation lesson to be had? Yes, these markets are just that vulnerable.
Go ahead tourism geniuses, ask me how?