Bringing 360° thinking
to transactional challenges.

hospitality transactions consulting

One Man's Opinion Vol 2, No. 5

I am an active user of Social Media. I use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (both personally, @mcshins, and professionally, @FourCornersAdv); I have some 1200+ connections on LinkedIn. But, I am a hypocrite when it comes to the "sharing community."

I am a devotee of UBER, having used it in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Orlando and Washington, DC, among other cities that I don't remember. However, I have not used Airbnb, nor do I expect to, for several reasons.

UBER, though unregulated and directly competitive with city-regulated taxi cabs, is both cheaper, and, I have found, more reliable, cleaner and friendlier than cabs. Airbnb, on the other hand, is not my cup of tea. As to Airbnb, I don't really want to sleep in someone's, a stranger's, spare bedroom. And, of course, there are my professional reasons: Airbnb is also mostly unregulated; TOT's are not always paid; and it may well adversely affect, if it has not already, the hotel profession in which I have spent the last 30 years earning my living.

TIME just published its annual list of 100 Most Influential People in the world. Among its honorees is Brian Chesky, whose deserved tribute was beautifully written by Jonathan Ive, the senior vice president of design at Apple ( Mr. Ive honored Mr. Chesky by saying, simply, "[Chesky has] helped create millions of personal connections." He goes on to say, "[t]hat's an achievement that even the best hotels in the world should envy."

Is that what a hotel should do? I have said many times, "sometimes a bed is just a bed," and I mean that. Staying in a room for 7 or 8 hours upon arriving late and leaving early, as I – and many others in the hotel business and most other businesses requiring constant travel – have done all too often, I do not think I am looking for a "personal connection." I am looking for a clean room, a comfortable bed, a strong shower and security. Most hotels, up and down the chain scale, offer that. I cannot say, as I do not actually know, that Airbnb does so.

Am I looking at the hotel industry through an incorrect lens? Surely, I acknowledge that consistency in hotel offerings is important to both hoteliers, particularly the brands, and some, but surely not all, guests; this is what brands strive to provide. Even the lifestyle (I don't use the term "boutique") hotels offer the essentials, without the occasionally dull consistency. And, there's the loyalty factor in hotel ‘frequent guest' programs. But, I have not thought of a hotel as offering a "personal connection."

Perhaps this is both the lodestone of Airbnb's success and Mr. Chesky's vision; however, it's not for me.

Am I simply wrong?

Four Corners Notes

When Coach Smith died in February, his executor sent each of his 180+ former players a check for $200 with a letter that ended, "please enjoy your dinner out."

After 36 years of coaching and the final years of his life impacted by a dementia that left his always sharp and facile mind something less than anyone would want, he had remembered every player in a touching and loving fashion.

His lessons remain with a lot of his followers, even those, like me, who could not hit an 18-foot jump shot to win a national championship.

I continue to be proud of the name of my company; it's the best legacy I could offer to the Coach.

The principal of FCA, Michael Shindler, has over 40 years of sophisticated legal and transactional experience in commercial real estate, of which the last 30 years have been spent in the hospitality field.