As the sharing economy continues to democratize the ability to enjoy many of life’s finer things through the notion of sharing as opposed to ownership, the luxury market is slowly stepping onto the scene.
While new start ups that tap into this trend are smart and likely to succeed by meeting growing demand for high end offerings by the first ever global middle class, it will be the former incumbent brands who harness this trend that arrive as tomorrow’s top innovators.
Hyatt is among the best examples of this new paradigm having launched onefinestay to compete head to head with Airbnb. The company just received $40 million in financing and is rapidly growing in London, New York, Paris and Los Angeles and boasts a larger inventory than the Ritz, the Plaza, George V and Hotel Bel Air combined.
Wyndham has continued this trend with a recent $12 million investment into Love Home Swap, another platform that connects luxury homeowners with affluent travelers seeking unique and one-of-a-kind travel experiences.
Both of these examples are terrific harbingers of what’s hopefully to come-which is market incumbents disrupting and reinventing in ways that guide us toward a period of never before seen innovation across industry.
I for one hope these new trends both in sharing economy luxury expansion, and incumbents battling against, not bawling, about new competition only continue. The power of We-Commerce has only just begun….and it will be super exciting to see if the new weconomy possesses the magic to not only harness sharing, but also make what was once old new again.
Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce due out in Fall 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!