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Differentiating the Supply Side

Former Supply Side Manager, Australia, NZ, Pacific at Airbnb

IP Interview
Published on May 30, 2020

Why is this interview interesting?

  • The long run dynamics of Airbnb,, and Expedia all owning the same inventory
Executive Bio

Darren Vincent

Former Supply Side Manager, Australia, NZ, Pacific at Airbnb

Darren was one of the first employees to join Airbnb in the APAC region. He joined the company in 2012 when the company opened the first office where he was responsible for opening new destinations in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. Darren was then promoted to lead recruiting and onboarding hosts where he led the supply side to grow from 5,000 to 200,000 hosts.

Interview Transcript

On that point then, let’s play this forward 5-7 years, and if you’re a host, either a small Airbnb or independent hotel, or a professional manager. You’re going to want to list your property on as many channels as you want. Therefore, is there any reason why some of these hosts will typically prefer Booking versus Airbnb for example?

You’re definitely going to have hosts that prefer one channel over another. That’s going to happen and you’re probably going to have it coming from different sides. It could be different experiences that they’ve had. You’re going to have hosts that are going to want to push their direct booking channel, for example. Direct booking, you saw hotels were very big on driving direct booking.

I think direct booking when you’re not a big hotel or not a big chain, it maybe comes across as easier than some of them think. When they think about in terms of what is the cost of actually generating that booking to their own channel, when they’re actually bidding on Google Ads and so on, when they have issues, they’ve got to deal with charge back, different things. They’ve got to start factoring that into the costs. If suddenly the cost of doing that is 15-20%, when you factor it over a year or something like that, it’s like is it actually better from a cost perspective. I think a lot of the professional hosts have started to think about that.

In terms of all of that inventory eventually ending up across multiple platforms, I think that’s going to happen. You already start seeing a lot of the different technology that’s already being built or is already out there to drive some of that. Whether it’s channel managers or GDS systems and all of those other things. Eventually, you’re going to want to be able to put your property in front of someone as much as possible. It’s about getting to them at the right time of purchase or intent to purchase is going to be the main thing. That could come across in multiple channels.

Then it becomes like you said, if I’m a hotel and I’m on, I know my fee, I’m going to pay and that’s my cost of filling that room. Arguably, the two are commoditized unless, like you said, they have completely different sets of demand. Or one has much large demand.

For sure, yes.

How do you see the competitive nature between take Airbnb versus Booking in five/six/seven years out when you have – let’s say they all have the same inventory?

Yes, it’s a very good question. The issue of becoming too commoditized is a real issue. I think is probably someone that potentially when you look at some of the things they’ve said on their earning’s calls, I think they’re probably worried about that. There’s just not a lot of loyalty really there when you start doing that. I think that’s also one of the reasons you’ve got all of these companies and different folks really focused on loyalty programs.

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