August 28, 2015 17:39 ET

Kawartha-Vacations.com: AIRBNB: Threat or Friend to Kawartha Resorts?

Kawartha-Vacations.com, a Kawarthas accommodations and tourism directory dedicated to promoting the resorts and attractions of the Kawartha Lakes Region, asks whether AIRBNB is helpful to Kawartha Resorts or a threat to business.

KAWARTHA LAKES, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 28, 2015) - AIRBNB is a new player in the Ontario hospitality industry, and Kawartha-Vacations.com (http://www.kawartha-vacations.com) asks whether they pose a threat to Kawartha Lake resorts, or, will they be good for the Kawartha Lakes tourist industry. Some may draw direct comparisons between UBER and the taxi industry, and AIRBNB and the resort industry. AIRBNB is rapidly gaining market share in the vacation travel segment across the world. As consumers test the service and familiarize themselves with the process and various offerings, AIRBNB will add to their already swelling brand awareness.

A year or two ago, not many people even knew what AIRBNB was. Now it's a household name, and most people know someone who has used the service. Ontario hospitality properties are just gathering steam again after being pounded by years of recession. AIRBNB is certainly a threat to urbanized vacation destinations but perhaps less, so far, in cottage country where saturation and selection by AIRBNB have been relatively weak. However, savvy resort operators know that they must embrace change, come on board and utilize tools like AIRBNB to market their properties in some fashion. While take-up on AIRBNB has been light in the Kawartha accommodations sector, it probably won't stay light for long as private residents sign on to supplement their income and perhaps their own travel interests and costs.

For some years, resort operators in Ontario have realized private cottage rental directories were taking a bite out of their business. AIRBNB and similar are a step beyond private cottage rental agencies, but unlike private cottage rental directories, it also allows resort properties to participate in some fashion particular to cottage rentals. It is only a matter of time before AIRBNB, and similar vacation-booking directories, branch out into general vacation marketing rather than only private home/cottage/condo vacation marketing. Hospitality businesses need to seize the opportunity as it arises.

"No question AIRBNB is making inroads as a substitute for traditional resort vacations. Those resorts that have significant infrastructure and on-site activities have some natural immunity and economy of scale advantage over accommodation properties that just put heads in beds," says Mark Coles of Kawartha Vacations. "In many respects, the AIRBNB type offerings are likely to hurt private cottage rentals agencies more than they will hurt larger all-inclusive resorts. However, resorts should be looking at how they can participate. Certainly if they have the venue for conferences and weddings, focussing on those segments of their business will go a long ways in weathering the storm as AIRBNB vacations take hold over the next few years in cottage country," adds Coles.

"There will be more competitive services that emerge that will compete head-on with AIRBNB, but they will likely cross over into the resort and hotel sectors as well in a bigger way because the opportunity exists. I guess you might look at it as a variation of timesharing for rental income. It really comes down to consumer value, and who can deliver the best accommodation for the money. I doubt it will ever be principle income for resorts, but it certainly will become a supplemental business in the near future. Gone are the days when resorts and other vacation properties simply posted a standard rate for a room or cottage type," states Coles.

About Kawartha-Vacations.com: Providing everything you need to plan a fabulous vacation in the Kawarthas, the Kawartha-Vacations directory is a comprehensive guide to the Kawartha Lakes region. The Kawarthas are a popular Ontario cottage country destination, less than 90 minutes northeast of the GTA. With many beautiful lakes and waterways, charming towns and villages, shops and restaurants, and exciting local events and attractions, the Kawartha Lakes Region has it all. For budgets large and small there is a wide variety of Kawartha accommodation properties, including full-service resorts, traditional lakeside lodges, country inns and housekeeping cottage resorts. Kawartha-vacations.com is a convenient one-stop resource for information on Kawartha getaways, romantic couple's getaways, family vacations, fishing weekends and destination weddings in the Kawarthas. To discover why your next vacation should be in the Kawarthas, visit http://www.kawartha-vacations.com.

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