Accorhotels CEO Sebastien Bazin may have paid Airbnb the ultimate compliment by buying competitor OneFineStay to enter the sharing market as a competitor, but he believes Airbnb has big problems, and isn’t shy of pointing them out.
In wide-ranging comments on the day that Accorhotels revealed its results, and responding to the news that Airbnb was now using its technology platform to sell hotels rooms, Bazin said that Airbnb’s move was a response to its “big dilemma”, namely, finding a way to an IPO.
According to Bazin, Airbnb is engaged in a search for new businesses to diversify away from its core business.
“They raised an enormous amount of money with a very high valuation and they promised to do a big IPO of the company,” said Bazin. “What they didn’t see was that they have so much market share in the capital cities that all of a sudden mayors went against them, and each one of those mayors in cities like Barcelona, New York, Paris, each of them have a different legislation.”
The challenge of the legislation is its uncertainty and diversity, he pointed out.
“Its 30 days here, 90 days here. The fine in Barcelona if you go beyond 31 days is €600,000; in Paris it’s €25,000. In New York, there’s a 30-day minimum stay. All of which makes it very difficult to do an IPO of Airbnb when you don’t know what the consequences of that legislation.”
According to Bazin:
“This is why Airbnb is moving into new business – Airbnb Experiences, Airbnb Trips, Airbnb as a platform for other business [the distribution of hotel rooms], because they want to diversify away from legislative trouble. And they’re right. And what they may do with a hotel platform actually doesn’t disrupt me. It disrupts the OTAs. Google hotel access is disrupting Trip Advisor. The largest recommendation site today is Google, which is why Trip Advisor’s market cap went from 13 billion to seven billion. So if Airbnb is good at distributing hotels, it might be a way of diversifying its business, but that’s why it’s doing it.”