The sharing economy seems to be going from strength to strength. The poster child of sharing, Airbnb recently had a valuation of $10 billion and reported revenue of $250 million last year. The company, which allows users to rent out their spare rooms or vacant homes to strangers, overtook 10 million stays on its platform last year and doubled its listings to 550,000 in 192 countries. This has led Fast Company to speculate that Airbnb would “usurp the InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton Worldwide as the world’s largest hotel chain — without owning a single hotel.” So just what does a hotel chain do to respond to the threat of the sharing economy? The publically stated sentiment, often appears to suggest that the brand is less of a threat than it may at times feel. Christopher Norton, EVP of global product and operations at the Four Seasons believes that their customers expect a “level of service that is different, more sophisticated, detailed, and skillful”. Richard Solomons, the IHG chief, considers it comes down to a matter of trust and safety. “We’re trusted because we’re highly regulated: If we open a hotel, we have food control, security, a building that is safe; if there is a fire in an Airbnb, you have no idea.” And yet, the media sentiment around Airbnb continues to grow. Senior hires from their competitors are making them a more serious proposition, becoming a full blown hospitality brand by offering a more comprehensive end-to-end experience for customers. It’s looking increasingly like a gamble for the established brands that business as usual, or even adjusting the fringes of the proposition, will be enough to hold back the sharing economy sentiment. Get the full story at Wired