Airbnb; democratizing the travel industry

* 4 min read


After the sensational launch of e-volve, intelligent artwork automation, I’ve been reflecting on other game changers who have pioneered change within their industries and asking what we can learn from their experiences.

People fear change and specifically fear job losses, however experience tells us that whilst change is usually feared it’s more productive to ask ‘what can we learn from this?’

Airbnb, was founded in 2008, and allows ‘hosts’ to post their apartments, homes and cottages on online for people to view and rent. Airbnb acts as a broker and takes commission on every house that is rented. Currently, the home-sharing platform has 6 million listings in 81,000 cities around the world. Suddenly the world opened-up to millions of individual travellers, empowered to plan their own itinerary directly with property owners.

Hotels might boast superior user experience and facilities but they are also subject to laws and regulations and they have many more associated running costs. All of which make it very tricky to compete directly with the convenience and value offered by a homeowner on Airbnb.

An online survey of over 800 tourists who had used Airbnb within the previous year showed that nearly two-thirds had used Airbnb as a hotel substitute.
GC1Daniel Guttentag, College of Charleston

Hotels objected, many politicians objected, yet instead of fearing Airbnb and pushing against it they should be asking ‘What can we learn from this?’ Airbnb appeals to a very different traveller and it competes on more than cost and convenience; it represents a community of travel lovers. The site prides itself on establishing personal connections with other users and peer to peer reviews drive trust levels - especially amongst millennials. Airbnb also appeals to millennials as a democratic service bringing travel opportunities to the masses. We imagine a world where you can belong anywhere.

Technology might change an industry landscape but it also creates opportunities. Greater disruption is heading our way, all the experts agree on that. Automation and AI are creeping into all industries and whilst they will enhance some existing models, there is no doubt they will revolutionise others. The World Economic Forum predicts that advances in robotics and AI will lead to a net increase in jobs over the next five years with the rise of machines and automation eliminating 85 million jobs by 2025 but at the same time, creating 97 million new jobs. The winners of the future will need to “reskill” and “upskill” to ensure staff are sufficiently equipped for the future of work.

Automation disruption paves the way for progress. With it, we can spend more time growing our businesses, innovating and creating new things

The continued importance of uniquely human cognitive abilities means that the future of the workplace isn’t likely to see a science-fiction-style robot takeover. Instead, the new workplace landscape will be about the optimal power of human and artificial intelligence in combination.

Creativity, along with problem-solving, analysis, interpretation, evaluation and reasoning, belong to so called PACIER critical-thinking skills that are considered problematic to replicate with AI.

We believe it’s increasingly important to concentrate on exploring the opportunities rather than fearing the change, and in this vein, Sun Strategy is both investing in automation (e-volve) and planning to grow its business and reskill and humanise its service focusing on what automation can’t offer. We’ll be creating new career paths and developing /repurposing skills to focus on the most important thing of all; what our clients want, what solves their problems and what adds value.

About the author

imageedit 1 6168940299Kevin McAulay - Account Director

Kevin has over 20 years experience in managing print and graphics for multiple global FMCG and retail companies. Kevin has experience working onsite at a number of clients sites including Nestle and Unilever and managing remote teams, with a great understanding of stakeholder engagement across multi disciplines.

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