Airbnb Acquires Hotel Tonight
By: Wells Wallace
Airbnb just announced that it is acquiring Hotel Tonight, which will be its biggest acquisition to date. Founded in 2010, Hotel Tonight is a travel app that aggregates unused [boutique] hotel inventory making it so that people can book last-minute hotel reservations at a discounted rate. The acquisition marks another step toward Airbnb’s reign over the travel industry. Airbnb began listing boutique hotel rooms in 2017 and has expanded beyond accommodations with an Opentable-like restaurant tool, as well as Experiences-- everything from cooking classes to surf lessons to flamenco pub crawls.
The acquisition helps Airbnb further demonstrate that it is no longer an alternative travel option, but has the breadth to appeal to all audiences and really be the category leader of the travel industry. “In November 2016, Chesky announced Airbnb was going to become an end-to-end travel platform, offering flights, experiences and more. The objective is for Airbnb to become the Amazon.com Inc. equivalent for travel -- a one-stop-shop for holiday-goers.”
It’s interesting to view the expansion of Airbnb’s empire, and the branching out of its services, in the context of two other leading lifestyle brands, Equinox and WeWork. Equinox is launching its first line of hotels this year, that will offer “360-degree lifestyle travel experience" and include wellness-focused travel experiences. In 2016, WeWork opened Rise by We, a gym created in the image of WeWork. And in 2017, WeWork introduced WeLive which brings the same WeWork principles to living spaces.
As each of these brands break out of their specialties, it very clearly manifests 3 leading values in today’s society: travel, wellness, and work. With the emerging overlap of these 3 industries, it seems inevitable that these 3 brands will become competitors.