Airbnb’s purchase of the San Francisco hotel bookings platform HotelTonight will set in motion the company’s plan to Amazonify itself before joining public markets. If Airbnb wants to be known for more than just home rentals it makes sense to compete more directly with Expedia or by offering same-day hotel reservations at discount prices. Offering access to more hotel rooms also eases pressure on restrictions put in place by cities unhappy at the lack of taxes and regulatory oversight that come from streets full of Airbnb hosts. Buying HotelTonight is therefore less of an about-turn than it might seem. Airbnb may have started out as a place to find space on pullout sofas in spare rooms but the combination of service fees and professional landlords means the price difference between hotels and Airbnb rooms has narrowed. Standard hotel rooms may also appeal to business travellers. Less chance of weird knick-knacks, more last-minute bookings. Airbnb likes to keep most of it...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now