Uncool Travel Experiences Are Back In Vogue

Back to the future...

Image Credit: Getty Images

Legacy travel experiences could be making a comeback at the cost of Airbnb, some statistics suggest.


Old school travel experiences like hotels are making a resurgence as newer school experiences like Airbnb appear to be idling, as we come out of COVID-19, some recent statistics shared by Skift (and The Wall Street Journal) suggest. Skift wrote at the end of May: “Just look at their market caps —Booking Holdings $92.05 billion and Airbnb a humbling $77.8 billion.”

The respective market caps of the two companies (as of June the 30th) tell a similar story. Booking Holdings (the company that owns Booking.com) has a market cap, at the time of writing, of $73.54 billion. Airbnb, at the time of writing, has a market cap of $59.78 billion. They’ve both suffered a drop, but Booking.com – the hotel booking platform – is still ahead by $13.76 billion.

“The new and the high tech are suddenly out of fashion, with the Nasdaq down around 23% this year. That sentiment change seems to have bled into the online travel sector, where the uncool is making a comeback.”

The Wall Street Journal

This may just be a result of a global bear market, but it could also be a result of a few trends being (somewhat) reversed as we finally start to get back to normal. Namely: during the peak of the pandemic, Airbnb was – particularly in Australia, but also worldwide – considered a safer option to hotels, as you were less liable to be in contact with other people, and could be more self contained.

RELATED: Surprising Ways The Luxury Travel Industry Will Change In 2020

Now that most people are getting back to normal again, it makes sense Booking.com might see a bit of a (relative) boom, and Airbnb might see somewhat of a drop (although there are a lot of other things going on economically: this is just one theory as to why they might have dropped).

On the other end of the stick, eating in hotels – something which Ovolo’s Vincent Lombino told DMARGE saw a boom during the pandemic, seeing as customers were nervous about the hygiene standards of restaurants outside – could now be due to drop off, you might think, if COVID-19 really was the driver behind its renaissance.

Image Credit: Getty Images

That said, as Mr Lombino told DMARGE exclusively back in 2020, some hotels have put a lot of work into their restaurants, so that they are no longer the sterile, generic places they have a reputation for being, but now, in some places, are some of the coolest places to eat in a city.

“Will things will have to change post-pandemic? I’ve been in this business a long time [and] the whole concept was people never liked to eat in hotels,” Mr Lombino told DMARGE.

“[The industry’s task] has been to develop really cool restaurants and bars inside hotels… [and previously] it was really hard to crack that,” Mr Lombino said.

RELATED: Could Airbnb’s Empire Come Crashing Down In 2022?

However, two things, according to Mr Lombino, have now changed. First of all, individuals and organisations like Ovolo have “fought hard” to make the hotel restaurant experience cooler.

“People will find trust and faith in the strong brands,” Mr Lombino told us. In fact, “instead of running out the door” Mr Lombino hopes they’ll stay “in their cool little bubble,” enjoying 5-star hotels like Ovolos’ produce, products, and reputation.

“Hotels that do it well are actually going to see a renaissance – back to the good old days (20, 30, 40 years ago) when all the best restaurants were all in hotels. They moved out but they have an opportunity to come back.”

Food for thought.

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