AirBnB clones will not work in India

1:33 AM Suvir Sujan 1 Comments

India has seen a lot of me too "cut and pastes' from internet models worldwide. From the Amazons to the Ubers to everything in between, clones have been tried in India.  Unfortunately, this type of cloning will not work for unstructured stays in India because of the fundamental lack of trust by consumers on the quality/service of the property, the reverse lack of trust by the property owner on the usage of the property by the consumer,  the lack of technology adoption by the property owners,  the variability in property maintenance, etc. What India needs is a managed marketplace where properties are vetted and verified, assistance provided to help the consumer decide on a property based on their needs, training for the property owner on what is required in terms of capex and services to make the property "rentable" and  technology assistance to facilitate the booking and post booking interactions with the customer, and a ratings/reviews system to enable users to share their experiences with others.

India has hundreds of thousands of small lodges/guesthouses and millions of potential homestays. But to open up this supply of stays to the consumer successfully requires a significant amount of process and product innovation.  Some companies (e.g Oyo, Zo) are trying to solve this need by trying to control the service levels of the property owner and attach their own brand to each property experience. This is more like a virtual hotel. It can work at small to mid scale but hard to make this work at large scale this as it is not possible to "guarantee" or standardize an experience if you don't have control over the property experience completely.  A controlled marketplace experience (e.g Stayzilla) where every unstructured stay available can be listed but with a verification and assistance layer on top is something that the Indian consumer needs and can be a huge success if done right.  The power should lie with the consumer to decide on the property they want amongst the thousands available with as much transparency and assistance provided by an intermediate platform in an emerging country like India that is nascent in both digital savvyness and customer centricity.



Thanks for sharing an insight on this industry, Cant really make a difference between what they are doing compared to a ibibo/ mmt.