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Cookie-Cutter Hilton Is Now Trying to Provide Benefits of Airbnb

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Cookie-Cutter Hilton Is Now Trying to Provide Benefits of Airbnb

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If you’ve not tried Airbnb, it’s all the rage.

Airbnb is a website that lets folks rent out their home to travelers, either a single room or the whole house.  It’s a great choice for folks who prefer a local feel when they travel.  Not only can you better absorb your destination’s culture when you’re staying with a host family, but you can connect with locals to discover the lesser-advertised gems nearby.

Hilton recognizes the value of this unique benefit, but they aren’t happy with losing your business.  So they’ve teamed up with Foursquare as their own way to offer local flavor!

There Is a TON to Discover in New York.  Hilton Is Helping You With Their New App Feature!

Foursquare is an app that shows folks recommended restaurants, activities, etc. near your location based on feedback from locals.

Now, when you have a confirmed Hilton hotel stay, you’ll see an “Explore” button in the Hilton app.  It will show you things like the highest-rated menu items and the best hours to visit certain areas.  While you’re flicking through all the recommendations, you can easily click to save them and create an itinerary for yourself before your trip begins.

For folks who are hesitant to spend the night in someone else’s house with Airbnb, but still want a local feel, this is a convenient option!  Lots of travelers prefer cookie-cutter hotels, because they like knowing exactly what to expect.  Plus, Airbnb doesn’t have a loyalty program like Hilton.

Note:   Even though Airbnb doesn’t have its own loyalty program, you CAN still use points for a free stay with rewards you earn from cards like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

While playing with this new feature, it’s obvious Explore is not yet available with all hotels.  It’s currently operating for 28 markets around the world.

It’s cool that Hilton is trying to remedy a shortcoming in the hotel industry.  But this new feature doesn’t look to be much better than simply opening the Foursquare app separately.

Do you think this is a good answer for the anti-culture that hotels tend to offer?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Jason Brandt Lewis

I’m not sure I would refer to Airbnb as being “all the rage.” Far too many regulations have been imposed upon the hosts in far too many locations around the world.

Personally, I *stopped* using Airbnb for renting out rooms in my own house, AND for renting rooms in other people’s homes. It definitely is NOT like a B&B in the UK; it feels quite intrusive; and I’ve had too many renters cause too much damage to my property. (Plus there’s the whole tax issue I now have to pay.) I only use Airbnb now as a renter if a) we are staying in one spot for a minimum of five (5) days; and b) we can rent out the entire apartment/home, as we will end up visiting local markets and cooking for ourselves.

As for Hilton and Foursquare…I tend to agree: why not just open up the Foursquare app yourself?

Hi Jason, yes I would tend to agree that if I were to book an Airbnb, I’d also feel a bit weird if I had to share the house with the owner.

I just returned from a trip to Italy and stayed in Airbnb’s everywhere. They were all for the entire apartment. Otherwise, if it were only for a few rooms in the house or shared with others, I don’t think I would have done it.

Maybe if Hilton offered the unique local flavor in their hotels, as it used to be much more of, they wouldn’t need to offer the four square information.

I can’t believe guests come to Europe Hilton’s and then want to eat the same dull American food. So ridiculous!

Jason Brandt Lewis

Sarah,

1) I believe you may be assuming too much. STAYING in a hotel — regardless of whether it’s a Hilton, Hyatt, NH, Accor, etc. — is a very different thing from EATING in a hotel. Generally it’s no more than morning coffee for me, before I leave the hotel for some local place for breakfast. The only exceptions, off the top of my head, are places like the Michelin-starred “Winter Garden” inside the St. Regis in Florence, or the included-with-the-price-of-the-room breakfast in places like the The Westin Palace in Madrid, where I eat much more like a madrileño than an American.

2) Not all American food is dull… ;^)

Typical million mile secret reader. I live in hotels. On stop in Europe. Thousands of nights under my belt. I know hotels and I know food and It is not just the food but the American loud music, Everything American. I travel to Europe to eat healthy food, and if I want American food 8 will not go abroad! You people visit hotels on occasion, I live them, and everything has gone so downhill unless you are in a super luxury European hotel for big bucks. Hilton has taken away the charm of travel for the average American who needs his bacon and eggs and garbage food.

Jason Brandt Lewis

Sarah, you seem a bit upset.

No one is going to force you to stay at a Hilton, nor at any other chain, whether it’s US-based or headquartered in some other part of the world.

If I want loud music, I’ll go to a Eurodisco with electronic music.

I’m not sure why you feel compelled to travel to Europe to eat “healthy food.” There is healthy food available all over the world, from Algeria to Zimbabwe; from Austria (as long as you watch the “schlag”) to Vietnam; China to Taiwan…and, yes, even in the US. But guess what? There’s also horribly unhealthy food available just about wherever you go if you look for it.

I’m not denying that the US has managed to export some of our worst around the world — fast food, for example. Who wants to order “un Gros Mac, si vous plait” on the Av. des Champs-Élysées for example, or “большой Mac, пожалуйста” in Pushkin Square? (It’s not all expats, you know. I don’t even order that $#|+ here in the States!)

Pardon me, Sarah, but it seems to me you have either a somewhat twisted view of America and Americans, or are ill-informed. I doubt it’s the latter, so let’s just agree to disagree on the topic.

I stay (mostly) at SPG (now “Marriwood”) or Hilton hotels around the world because my wife and I enjoy a King-sized bed. Those are often difficult to find in Europe. The Hilton Molino Stucky on Giudecca, for example, offers spectacular views of Venice, both from my room and from the rooftop bar…but I don’t eat there, not with the entirety of Venice a short boat ride away. The Hilton at Heathrow T5 is wonderfully soundproofed, and is the home of an excellent, Michelin-recommended Indian restaurant, Mr. Todiwalla’s Kitchen — sister to Mr. Todiwala’s Petiscos in Whitechapel. I find it a perfect place to stay if I’m arriving at LHR in the late afternoon/early evening and have a morning flight out the next day….

Have the same Hilton hotels you’ve been to changed their menus over the years?

I’ve usually found a wide selection of food. But then again, I will eat almost anything as long as it’s edible