Airbnb is open to ideas of how it could work with the trade, according to UK and Ireland general manager James McClure.
Speaking at a digital summit run by Travolution’s luxury travel sister trade title Aspire on Monday, McClure said that while there is no official system set up or agent hotline to call, but that the company is evolving and is very open to ideas.
He added: “We are all in the business of getting people the best experience possible. We want to know what people are looking for and what they want to get out of their holiday and then put together the best experiences. So the style is similar.
“The only friction I see is trust. The online currency of trust is your profile so if I request to stay somewhere people can see a photo of me, what I’m like and reviews from previous stays. How do you provide that personal touch for the person who is the host? But I’m confident that is a friction, not a barrier.”
McClure said he doesn’t consider Airbnb to be a threat to the traditional travel industry, but more an option in an array of options for people to consider including luxury travellers.
“Luxury is not about what money can buy. What we look at is what guests are looking for. And whether people are on a shoestring budget or unlimited budget it’s about experiences and being able to live like a local.
“Being able to get under the skin of a place is an important driver. You may get people spending thousands on accommodation but they will still head to the local beach bar for a couple of cheeky beers or go to markets to try street food. Finding out what it’s like to live in a place is a true luxury for people on any budget.”