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Hotels vs. Airbnb (Lounge / Coffeeshop)

Dr. Steffen Schwarz Dr. Steffen Schwarz

How hotels can use coffee to differentiate themselves from Airbnb accommodation

A number of challenges have emerged for hotels over recent years – online comparisons have made prices more transparent, every little deficiency (in the building, cuisine or service) is discussed at length on rating platforms, and reservations have become largely non-binding. Then there’s Airbnb, offering accommodation which is usually cheaper, more personal, more varied, and more youthful – and has thus become a serious new competitor for the classic hotel industry.

But is really everything worse than it used to be? Doesn’t the Internet also offer huge possibilities and opportunities if used and communicated correctly? Of course it does.

The role of coffee

In addition to all the online aspects, coffee also has a role to play. After all, coffee has always been a social beverage, and the café a place to meet and chat, or to discuss politics, art, literature, and music – in short a place of human encounter.

Isn’t that precisely what hotels should focus on: a lounge-like environment similar to a coffee shop that offers an opportunity to linger, meet and communicate – online and offline?

We’re not talking here about the often sterile and unwelcoming hotel lobby, or a waiting room with padded seats, or a restaurant area with hovering waiters. No, what’s needed is an open space for encounters, for people to communicate during and over a cup of coffee.

Attracting regulars

The hotel industry needs new coffee landscapes and concepts. These could offer completely new opportunities to build up customer loyalty and turn guests into regular customers. Something that Airbnb would find difficult to replicate and would make staying at a hotel a special experience and a reason to return.

So it’s worth taking a closer look at the topic of coffee in all its facets – the preparation methods, the different beverages, the various concepts – and developing a bespoke solution. This could be a hotel café or café lounge, like a hotel bar, where even individual guests never look like they’re waiting for someone who never arrived, but can simply relax as a guest or visitor reading a book or magazine, working on a few emails, or chatting at the bar etc.

Coffee has everything it takes... and if you don’t have your own ideas, let yourself be inspired by the experts.

You can find workshops and training courses on all aspects of coffee – such as preparation, management, coffee drinks, sensory analysis, botany and much more – on the website