On the uberisation of everything
My partner and I own a tiny, purpose-built holidayaccommodation business that has been run independently for thirty years. We took it over about six years ago, and after five years of steady traffic to our website, achieved by word of mouth and customers’ Google searches, we suddenly had no traffic at all. We realised that this was because people were going directly to Airbnb. (Incidentally, it’s easy to forget that Google was one of the world’s first massively powerful disruptors destroyers, which effectively makes Airbnb ‘a disruptor to a disruptor’ (i.e. they are in direct competition with each other in today’s ‘direct booking wars’). Obviously, one era’s disruption is another era’s status quo.) Airbnb indeed declares that it’s ‘now the most searched-for accommodations [sic] brand’. We thus knew that if we didn’t go on Airbnb too we’d have no business. To clarify, this essay is not a gripe about our personal situation. Rather, it’s about the insights our ‘business problem’ has given us into the multiple impacts that the unregulated growth of multinational tech-based companies such as Airbnb can have.
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