Luis del Olmo analyzes the P2P explosion in the tourism industry
The term “peer to peer” (p2p) describes a tendency that not only influences the way people travel, but also they way they consume, reaching collaborative consumption. Luis del Olmo, president of Idiso Hotel Distribution, analyses the emergence of this type of tourism. According to him, it won’t be resolved with fines, rather there is a need to adapt the market to the new demands. Let’s see how.
How do you view tourism with no intermediaries (p2p), a passing trend or a real threat?
This is not a war; we have to give clients what they want. One should not exclude the other. The challenge is to see how the industry can reach clients through the different channels. Now, more than ever, the client is King. Before one had to visit a travel agency to see the different offers available. Today there is more than one shop or agency. Internet has become a global shop with all the information at ones fingertips. The strategy we should follow consists in attracting clients no matter what channel they chose, whether it’s a tour operator, an OTA or the direct channel. We must adapt otherwise we just become dinosaurs.
The strategy we should follow consists in attracting clients no matter what channel the choose
How do you adapt?
These are revolutionary times; all the established models we know so well are changing. The two youngsters behind Airbnb have become the owners of the largest chain in the world, in less than a month, with a comparatively low layout. They achieved this because they saw an opportunity, a niche in the market. The business model was already out there, but now it is much more agile, generating a new type of client. It’s obviously competition to hotels, but the only thing it proves is that there are clients who are not comfortable or happy with the traditional formula. The world is changing!
The main reason behind the discrepancies with this new business model is the lack of control. However, due to the financial crisis, it is the only way that some travellers can go on holidays thanks to its low prices. How can hoteliers compete with these prices?
The price doesn’t say anything, but the product does. The consumer wants to buy experiences, whether camping, in a B&B or a 1* Hotel. What the guest expects is to be able to access a product that does what it says on the box. The price is an element that can mislead, whether because the experience was unsatisfactory, or because it is considered that if something is cheap it is not worth it.
The consumer wants to buy experiences, whether camping, in a B&B or a 1* Hotel.
The underground economy is a handicap that points directly to this type of tourism, and in Spain 19% of the GDP is undeclared. What alternatives can the industry call on to face this?
It is a problem. There may be answers but these haven’t been discovered yet. It may be because Spain is a young democracy that still has a lot to learn. It is part of our country’s evolution. I think it is a problem that will get sorted out gradually.
The legalization of these apartments falls under the remit of the Autonomous Communities. In fact the Generalitat de Catalunya (Cataluña’s regional government) has already imposed a fine of €30.000 on Airbnb for commercializing illegal tourist apartments, is this an exception in our country or will it set a precedent?
I think these fines are like little temper tantrums. P2P tourism will not be resolved by means of fines. In fact the European Community has shown that the only thing these fines achieve is to favor the completion. At Idiso Hotel Distribution we feel that innovation builds the world, it cannot be stopped. Otherwise we would all still be travelling around in a donkey and cart. We must adapt and provide a better service to who really matters, the client. They are and always will be King.