Airbnb has taken yet another step in its quest to broaden its influence beyond accommodations, according to a recent article in the industry news source, TravelMole. It has led a US$13 million funding round in the dining booking app Resy Network Inc, which values that company at around US$70 million, not bad for a business that was only founded in July 2014 from US$2 million in seed funding and currently employs only about 30 persons.
Resy currently lists around 1,000 restaurants in 50 US cities and handles reservations via a real-time cloud-based system for around 1.5 million diners each month. With the interest expressed by Airbnb, it is inconceivable that the concept would not be taken globally within the foreseeable future and considering our culinary offerings on Barbados, it just might be prudent to become involved as a destination, in the early expansion stages.
Airbnb had already agreed a strategic partnership in November 2016 as parts of its ‘Trips’ expansion into activities and the collaboration will see a restaurant booking option added to the existing Airbnb platform.
It the words of Airbnb’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brian Chesky, ‘Many of our most-treasured travel memories come from experiencing the local food. Helping people find and book incredible local restaurants is a key part of us moving beyond just accommodation to focus on the whole trip. We cannot think of a better partner that Resy to help make this possible’.
Resy CEO, Ben Leventhal, added ‘Resy and Airbnb share a vision for how people experience local venues. We’re committed to building a product that allows anyone, anywhere, anytime, to live like a local.’
So from a consumer viewpoint, what is the attraction of booking through the Resy portal? To quote its own website ‘Resy is re-inventing hospitality using technology. That means you get the best booking experience and reservation selection anywhere. Short story, if you want that booth on Friday night at 8pm, then that’s what you get. No begging, no wait-and-see, no phone calls. Two taps and the table is yours. The best restaurants in the world use Resy to take reservations. Grab a seat, because not all reservations are created equal’.
Clearly with dining out, literally eating up a substantial proportion of a holidaymakers budget, I can see the appeal in wanting to secure the best table position possible, especially as in many cases of our restaurants boast enticing ocean views. While, there must be inherent costs to the individual restaurant partners, being part of this form of marketing just might open up and stimulate new avenues of business and awareness.
Many industry observers view this further Airbnb involvement in Resy as merely the tip of the iceberg. What next? Tours, attractions, activities, car rental, the world is their oyster and it seems only logical that other areas of the tourism product will be fully investigated and exploited soon.