Hotels leverage new platform to beat Airbnb: Tap local knowledge

By Ben Allen August 20, 2017

The hospitality industry has undergone big change over the last few years with Trip Advisor and Air BnB both playing dramatic roles in shaping the industry. In the shuffle, startup Arrivedo saw the potential to tap local knowledge in a powerful way that would add a lot more value to readers than a glowing description of fluffy pillows or ranty reviews from rude guests. “Our technology ranks hotels’ Neighbourhood Guides to identify best experiences for guests around a given hotel,” says CEO and co-founder Alonso Franco.

The idea is not as far fetched as to expect every hotel or hostel owner to take the time to write up the neighborhood sites for their area for the site. The platform ingeniously connects anyone offering accommodations, to local travelers and writers. The hotelier can then offer them a free bed in exchange for a neighborhood write up.

The writer that accepts the deal then hammers together the host’s neighborhood guide, including information on what to do, why to do it, and how to get there and pay. The idea is to tap into the exchange economy and create a mutually beneficial situation for travel writers and hoteliers that create something of lasting value for future visitors.

The platform is a great way for hotels to provide something more than just accommodation, and it proactively offers guests helpful information in a centralized location, as opposed to the current common practice of trying to reply to reviews and hoping the replies are read. The idea is to offer hoteliers the opportunity to answer questions from guests-to-be, to suggest enjoyable things to do before they arrive, rather than being limited to replying to comments from ex-guests.

“Until now, hoteliers had never had a platform to communicate as hosts their suggestions and know-how with their guests and travelers,” Franco adds. “Arrivedo offers a centralized solution to the billions of questions answered at hotel receptions about what to do and how to make the most out of a visit to any specific town, neighborhood or city.”

The platform is off to a running start, having launched in June and already hosting 7,000 neighborhood guides in 75 cities around the world, including San Francisco, Rome, Madrid, Toronto, London, Mexico City, Lima, and Cusco. And the idea is gaining traction beyond the numbers, it recently won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s HITEC conference in Toronto.

There’s also a pretty broad range of hotels taking an interest. The site boasts Kimpton Hotels (high-end boutique hotels in the US), Virgin Hotel in Chicago, WestHouse in New York (Highgate Group), Hotel B in Barranco, W Hotels in Bangkok and even the Park Grand London Kensington Hotel in London.

Test driving the platform’s guides myself, I clicked on the Park Grand guide for “London’s Colourful Markets”,  as I’m relatively familiar with London. Not only are the markets a must when visiting London, being that they’re actually part of the culture and not the typical Tower of London tourist trap – but the selection they’ve chosen is a decent overview, and they’re the kind of thing that is often overlooked. So… top marks.