“We have been looking at this space for a while, prompted by Airbnb having so much momentum,” Vivek Badrinath, deputy CEO at AccorHotels, told Skift. “This is very much a learning experience for us because we want a better grasp of the sharing platform space and how to manage it.”
As we covered previously in 2013, Oasis Collections launched in Buenos Aires in 2009 when co-founder and CEO Parker Stanberry saw the booming interest among travelers for attractively-priced alternative accommodations in local neighborhoods.
Unlike Airbnb, however, Oasis has employees in each destination who welcome guests at the full condo and home listings, and who also act as 24/7 sources of local insider knowledge. Stanberry emphasizes that he’s basically unpackaging the classic hotel stay by bringing the front desk and concierge to the client where they want to be.
To further differentiate the Oasis model from Airbnb, Stanberry partners with companies like SoulCycle, which he says takes the place of a hotel gym. Guests also have access to a series of private members clubs in each destination, which replicate popular lobbies in lifestyle hotels.
The company has since expanded to over 1,500 listings in 18 cities in major North American and European markets such as New York, Miami, Barcelona, and Paris.
“We look at what we’re doing as putting together the pieces of a hotel in a new way, so when you start thinking of it in that perspective, this isn’t a real portal or peer-to-peer booking site to find a room to stay in,” Stanberry told us. “We are, just like a hotel or hospitality company, vetting every single property ourselves with an 80-item checklist of equipment from the number of towels to the quality of sheets.”
With Accor now as a major partner, Stanberry is planning on expanding to another 10 cities by the end of the year, including opening the company’s first operations in Asia. The development pipeline goal is to reach 70 gateway cities by 2019.
“It’s a sizable investment so we can now also hit the gas on technology development to come out with a pretty cool mobile app in the next couple months, with a guest-to-concierge chat functionality that will be a first for our kind of company,” he added. “So I think there are so many differences here that ultimately the consumer should see this as a new take on a boutique hotel experience as opposed to Airbnb-plus.”
That direct brand service component with guests that separates Oasis from the pure peer-to-peer ecosystem was what attracted Badrinath to the company in the first place.
“We certainly need to ensure that personal level of service is delivered because that’s the core DNA of AccorHotels,” he said.