Have you heard about Easynest? The premise is that once you book a hotel room, you post it to your profile on this website, and then another user can sign up to share the guestroom with you, splitting the price. And by “another user,” I’m more or less referring to a random stranger, even though this individual will likely be sourced through semi-public broadcasts on social media.
There are a lot of issues at play when it comes to Easynest’s modus operandi. First, sharing a hotel room with an unfamiliar person is somewhat scary. They may be a perfectly normal and friendly person — and in all likelihood they are — but they may be the exact opposite, and as the phrase goes, a few bad apples spoil it for the whole bunch. In fact, one of the marketing slugs for Easynest specifically mentions that this practice is not creepy. Words for the wise: if you have to explicitly state that something “isn’t creepy,” in reality, it probably is.
Easynest calls into question a range of legal issues surrounding security and duty of care. What if something were to happen to the person who allowed a sort-of-unknown guest to share a room without the hotel’s knowledge? If something is stolen or damaged, is the hotel liable? Moreover, how can you bar Easynest from operating on your home turf, when all the transactions and communications are essentially peer-to-peer?
I mention Airbnb in the headline because I view that service as one of the main antagonists to present-day growth of hotel room occupancy and loyalty, especially amongst the millennials. The site has caused a stink insofar as offering primarily young travelers a myriad of new options when exploring a foreign city. Rather than researching specific hotel chains or the unique qualities of various independents, just browse Airbnb and see what apartment looks best.
Easynest offers a parallel dilemma for hotels. Instead of prospective buyers investigating hotels directly, they end up at this website, ready to piggyback on a user who has posted a room-for-share in the desired city — hotel brand and benefits as distant seconds in importance.
All this appears to me as another day, another web-based startup vying to dilute brand awareness and loyalty efforts. Perhaps I’m looking at this too negatively. What do you think? And next, how would you go about preventing Easynest from invading your domicile? Or is this an issue for you?
(Article published by Larry Mogelonsky in HOTELSmag on September 4, 2013)