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The Sharing Economy Career Options | Hospitality Industry Careers for Students

In terms of looking at a career in the accommodation side of the hospitality industry, you have probably been taught about hotels and maybe Airbnb as the big competitor. But did you know that there is SO MUCH more than that?

Today I am going to show you companies and job opportunities in the non-hotel accommodation sector of the hospitality industry, also called the sharing economy.

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The Sharing Economy

The accommodation side of the hospitality industry includes many companies and sub-sectors beyond hotels. Companies like Airbnb, Couchsurfing and WeWork popularised this concept. It has now grown into a huge part of the hospitality industry with more career opportunities than “traditional” hotel career options.

We already covered the hotels part of the accommodation business at the start of this series, Hospitality Industry Careers, learn about restaurants, events and other sectors here.

Apartment rentals market

Starting off, we have companies like Airbnb and Couchsurfing that were the original providers of alternative accommodation at home. The hospitality share-economy catalysts.

More recently, companies like Hostmaker and Guest Ready emerged to help owners manage these rental apartments and rooms for a fee. Taking the management off their hands and allowing more flexibility for the owners and guests.

Then we have companies like Plum Guide, that “is establishing the first globally recognised mark of quality in the homestay sector” and allowing guests to find high-quality long term accommodation that suits their taste and preferences.

In the luxury sector, we also have OneFineStay by Accorr, a type of Airbnb that does not require the owner of the property to do anything once signed up. OneFineStay manages everything for the owner.

Then we also have companies like Sonder and Marriott Homes & Villas that saw a gap in the market of apartment rentals and launched branded apartment rentals. They maintain a certain standard throughout all their apartments, making sure it fits the brand and allows a consistent customer experience.

Short and long term hotel-like housing is now competing with hotel brands that were designed for that. The long-stay hotel brands like Staybridge Suites and Element.

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Technology with hospitality at the heart

Domio that is a technology company with hospitality at the heart, “encompassing real estate, hospitality, and design with an emphasis on social connections.”

Lyric is another interesting example of a technology company within hospitality accommodation and ison a mission to design and operate accommodations for the modern business traveler.

So this shows that hospitality is really bigger than is typically taught at university. Chances are that you've probably not considered technology companies for your future career options in hospitality, but just because a company is a tech-driven, doesn't mean it's not a hospitality company.

Home renting is a big, HUGE market sector in the hospitality industry with companies like Marriott and Accorr are catching on the trend, with growing demand and social distancing, this industry has been doing well in comparison to hotels this year.

Co-working and co-living as part of the hospitality

In co-working space, we have WeWork ofc, (although not sure for how long) and lots and lots of competitors in various locations. We probably have 15 here in London only.

Co-working is a specific area on its own that would normally be categorised in facility management but are now starting to offer for hospitality facilities. Don't forget about this when you're creating your career vision.

Then we have an up and coming area of the business which is not typically part of hospitality but encompasses all its essence at the heart, and it is co-living spaces. This would also never be part of hospitality until now, as companies like The Collective and the Bungalow offer F&B and entertainment facilities in the building.

So when it comes to opportunities and companies in the sector of non-hotel accommodation there are a lot to choose from, depending on what you like and where you are located. That is because accommodation has a very wide meaning and there are different types that suit different types of people and their needs.

Career options in the sharing economy

The companies I mentioned, have roles for General Managers, Revenue Managers and analysts, Guest Services, F&B, and many more roles that can be found in hotels. Look them up on LinkedIn and see for yourself!

The key difference with hotels is that the new up and coming startups are more likely to give you a chance to step up to a new role with more responsibility than traditional hotels are.

In hotels, many of us have seen people from outside get hired to roles that should have been filled by internal candidates or seen senior leadership sit too long in their roles than is healthy for the company. It’s a little different at fast-growing startups (not perfect, just different).

A huge benefit of working for such startups is one of more flexibility. While in a hotel you must be in the hotel and be physically present pretty much regardless of what you do, in the share-economy and the start-up world, it is not that strict.

Given the recent push to working from home, these companies are seeing the benefits of remote teams and reduced office space. So you are much more likely to have a remote-based job with a team in 2,3 or 4 different locations. You can’t have that in a hotel.

You could have a fantastic career in hospitality without working in hotels specifically.

Stats show the growth of the sharing economy

If you’re still not sure about non-hotel accommodation being a huge opportunity for your career then you need to see these stats:

  • Vacation Rentals Worldwide have 448.7n million users worldwide

  • Vacation Rentals Revenue is expected to grow 21.3% in the next THREE years

  • That’s an increase from 51,541m to 88,420m US$ (Statista, 2020)

That’s an industry with a lot of potential!

The sharing economy is growing year on year and the urbanisation of services is expanding into all industries. Make sure to put this on your radar and your career vision!

This is part of the hospitality industry careers series, where I uncover jobs and careers options in 11 Hospitality Industry sectors you didn’t know about before!

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