Airbnb has been hitting headlines lately, making heads turn and ears perk up. This pioneer in the sharing economy has been under some pressure as it continues to soar in growth. On one hand, the company shows a tremendous amount of promise, tapping into a type of individual that prides themselves on the uniqueness of travel. On the other hand, it has neighborhoods and hotels concerned about negative impact in their areas. Whichever way we look at it, one thing is for sure: Airbnb isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so event planners should look at Airbnb and understand how it affects their world.

Airbnb can offer unique settings for events

You might be thinking, what does Airbnb offer and how can I leverage it for events? Well, here are some situations in which you may want to consider using it as a resource:

  • Family reunions
  • Bachelor / Bachelorette parties
  • Family get togethers or vacations
  • Overflow transient rooms or homes to use when city hotels are all sold-out
  • Small teambuilding or retreats
  • VIP Dinners and outdoor informal gatherings
  • Authentic transformative experiences
  • Living like a local or being in a specific neighborhood

The ideas that can be leveraged by using a property on Airbnb can be numerous. However a planner has to ensure that holding events at properties selected is something that is endorsed by the owner. A simple conversation with the owner can lay to rest any concerns that you or they may have. There are many regulations that need to be adhered to with some of these properties. Ensure that you know the regulations with your intended property.

There can be risks with planning an events in Airbnb properties

Of course, there are some concerns that come with utilizing an Airbnb property that every event planner should pay attention to. Event planners should note these concerns and make sure to address them during the planning process for their events:

  • Security concerns with your attendees
  • Safety regulations and compliance
  • Insurance and Liability
  • Neighborhood rules and regulations
  • Cleaning and damage charges

You definitely need to read the fine print when it comes to the Airbnb properties. Also, making sure that you discuss your arrangements with the homeowner could be a benefit to you and your event. Note that many these properties are in residential areas and don’t always have as robust security as a hotel. Safety should come first when it comes to the matters of your attendees, to make sure that you are up to speed on all nuances.

Millennials love the sharing economy, and love Airbnb

One of the most important reasons for Airbnb’s growth are millennials. More than half of the growth that Airbnb has had within the last year are by individuals between 18 and 24. As event planners, we should know what our customers want and need, and millennials crave authentic transformative experiences. Airbnb allows millennials to take advantage of these types of experiences by having unique options just a click away.

Airbnb is giving the hotel industry some serious competition

Since its inception on 2008, Airbnb has served over 30 million guests. Although privately held, Airbnb’s value has now exceeded hotel chains like Hyatt. HVS Consulting & valuation estimates that approximately $450 million in direct revenues per year go to Airbnb. Their users are substituting away from hotels more than any other accommodation types and more quickly.  As the sharing economy grows, so will Airbnb. We can only assume that many of our clients will start see it as another resource for having social gatherings and events.

Airbnb is on the grill for potential “illegal” activity

Recently, Airbnb is coming under fire for how it uses it’s platform to uplift peer-to-peer lodging. Instead of individual home owners using their site for promotion of properties for sharing purposes, now private commercial business owners are finding leverage, and Airbnb isn’t actively doing anything to stop it.  A recent report reveals that much of Airbnb’s growth can be attributed to these commercial business owners, that has alerted American Hotel & Lodging Association. AH&LA is concerned that Airbnb is infringing on a piece of business that used to be theirs, and consider it to be ‘illegal’. Hotel margins are shrinking, and the hotel industry are aiming to come up with a plan to do something about it.

Even though we possibly can’t see a need for Airbnb right now, it is pretty evident that the organization is a major player in the hospitality sector, whether hotels want it there or not. The question is, how can the event planner leverage this resource to plan meaningful and unique event experiences. Have you planned an event using these properties before? What do you think of them being a unique opportunity to plan events? I look forward to hearing more from you in the comments below.