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#1 Short Stay Rentals vs The Hotel Experience

26 June 2024

Once upon a time, short stay rentals such as Airbnb promised a sense of place in their stays — an opportunity that felt more intimate and local than the generic hotel offering. However, the expansion and takeover of both property and industry since the general conception in 2007 has, somewhere along the way, strayed far from this original objective: today, the likes of AirBnB has become synonymous with small, under-equipped spaces, obligations to carry out chores, painful check-in processes, and so on.

Regardless, the origins of AirBnB have created and maintained a lust for something more: more than a hotel room adorned with white walls, white linen, and an all-inclusive breakfast buffet. 

So what can the hotels of today learn from the factors that drove AirBnB to success — and how can they engage travellers who no longer trust the platform?

Perhaps a major drawcard of AirBnB and short term rentals are the fact that stays are unique and personal, not some monotonous global hotel chain whose rooms in Melbourne are indistinguishable from those in the UK. Travellers get joy from the fact that accomodation can reflect the city or town it’s in, and hotels have an opportunity to learn to incorporate this sense of place into their design language.

Caption by Hyatt in Sydney and Tokyo is one such example, whereby we were tasked to explore what local means for each hotel location. At M&E defining local means something different for every project, bringing cultural references from the outside, in. We were inspired the moment we set off on our trip to Tokyo, from food to fashion to art and the subtle interactions of the cities inhabitants and everything in-between. And while there may be crossovers in the ‘city life’ of Sydney and Tokyo, there are so many beautiful cultural distinctions to be celebrated within the four walls of each hotel room, accompanying lobby, hospitality, spa, and retail offering. 

The Yoshino Cedar House, an initiative by AirBnB to bridge the gap between community and traveller, can be looked at by hotels as another considered example of design that incorporates both. Its floor-to-ceiling windows don’t conceal it from the town of Yoshino (within the Nara prefecture of Japan), but open it up to the community of six thousand, all of whom can wave at the home’s current guests on their morning walk. Perhaps hotels, too, can strike a balance between privacy and openness to community, albeit on a lesser extreme, by integrating public spaces that appeal to locals as much as tourists. 

Design that speaks to location is of upmost importance to the hotels of the future, where the promises of AirBnB have permanently altered the expectations of the modern traveler. At M&E, we’re driven by the idea and ambition that Hotel design has the opportunity to take advantage of the unfulfilled promises of short term rentals. 

More articles

projects by Hayley Mitchell
& Samantha Eades

Caption By Hyatt, Tokyo

Coming soon

Bonbon Cafe at The Lana

Coming soon

The Salent, Curio Collection by Hilton

Coming soon to Yangzhou

IHG Chongqing

Coming soon


Private residence Nanjing


Private Penthouse Sydney