VRS253 – Exploring the Blended Accommodation Landscape with Ian Ackland of Booking.com

In this episode, we take a broader view of our business with long-time travel professional, Ian Ackland who is Booking’s Regional Manager for Connectivity and Vacation Rentals. For starters, he talks about what he does and what ‘blended accommodation’ actually means.

As Ian explains traveler preferences are steering the need for a wide variety of different stay experiences. The same traveler that might be interested in a hotel for his/her business trip to Minneapolis is often also looking for a vacation home near the beach for a summer holiday. Booking.com has 28 million listings, with 5.5 million in the alternative accommodation category, so it can conveniently meet the needs of traveler demands across multiple demographics.

Ian also introduces the concept of Bleisure travel which blends this further – either people starting their business trip and extending into a weekend stay or digital nomad style travel that could well be business travel but requires a ton of flexibility, “work remotely” connectedness and a feeling of freedom.

In addressing the changing nature of travel and accommodation requirements, we discuss what an owner or property manager needs to look out for when participating in the blended world; what we need to know about hotel companies investing in the vacation rental sector, and the resources that are available to help.

Finally, Ian shares his view of the future of the short-term accommodation business and comments on how technology continues to disrupt the industry.

In this episode he talks about:

  • Why we need to be in the right place at the right time to get bookings.
  • The impact of the smartphone and how it’s disrupted traditional reservation methods.
  • How 59% of travelers want a personal connection with a host or staff and how to handle these preferences.
  • The importance of working with distribution partners to understand what drives listing placement.
  • How to use available data to improve results.
  • Choosing a channel manager and what to look out for.
  • Why owners who commit to fueling great stay experiences will be successful.
  • The mismatch between consumer demand and what is being offered.
  • Reshaping your offering to meet guest needs.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Partner Help at Booking.com