What does Airbnb have to do with air shows? More than you think.
The Air Show
A weekend in Virginia Beach can be an adventure, but if you can fly a plane of your own, or find similar transport sans you in the pilot’s chair, this destination location in late May is the place to be. My grandfather was a stunt pilot, flying a T-28B warbird to an air show, receiving a thunderous ovation as we landed. Not many boys can claim that kind of memory. Picking my favorite air show, while it’s changed over the years, my money right now is on The Virginia Beach Oceanfront Air Show.
The Virginia Beach Oceanfront Air Show is typically held in late May or early June (this year the dates are June 3rd – 5th, 2016). While there is a charge for VIP tickets, save your money, as this outstanding air show is free to all. This year’s lineup includes Geico Skytypers, a collection of vintage WWII aircraft; Red Bull Skydivers, the ultimate no-net acrobats (we all tip our hats to Nik Wallenda!); as well as tactical demonstration by the L-30 Albatros. All is sure to dazzle onlookers and renew one’s marvel of flying machines and world-class pilots, such as The Wright Brothers, and Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron. A German fighter pilot during World War I, he is the ace-of-aces, with 80 official combat mission victories.
Held in conjunction with the Patriotic Festival, featuring national musical acts like The Band Perry and a wide array of family friendly activities, the air show celebrates the military presence at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and is regarded as one of the most spectacular air shows of the year. This year’s air show lineup is filled with talented fliers as well as exceptional aircraft.
There’s no doubt that as a vacation destination, Virginia Beach boasts many cultural and scenic attractions. People come from all over the nation to enjoy their beaches, activities, their famous boardwalk, and that’s just to name a few. What Virginia Beach lacks is a selection of luxury hotels. Instead, one is left to rent a questionable hotel room (but it’s on the water!), or go through the hassle and time suck that is going through VRBO, etc.
Uber scares taxi drivers, Amazon scares retailers, and some hotels are scared by Airbnb. We’ll get to the why in a moment, but for the purposes of the air show, one is left with very few options. Thus, when in Rome, why not try something different? You’re already on vacation, so why do the same-old-same-old? I have had nothing but lovely experiences with Airbnb hosts, and my friends who use the platform have frequently described it as “part of their routine,” routine meaning as to “book a room at the Hilton.” Forget anything you’ve heard and make your own judgments, as one ear could be filled with language based in fear and the other filled with rainbows and unicorns. Theirs is a unique model, and I recommend that everyone – from sojourner to hotelier alike – have the experience at least once. It is very different than the hotel model, and that was quite jarring. Trust has to be established, truly, from the very beginning, as both the host (the individual renting the room, house, etc.) and the guest must go through their Verify ID online background check, which is very personal and, while not necessarily bad, a bit invasive. From there, arrangements must be made to get the keys, time will be spent showing you around and, quite often, people leave feeling like they got an overnight stay and a cool new friend: all for just $50.00.
If I were asked me, “Which do you like better? A luxury hotel or Airbnb?” While they’d expect me to simply say one of two, I’d said “neither.” At this point in time, if I were in the luxury hotel business and the man who invented the boutique hotel is their Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy, I would be paying attention. From my small corner of luxury hospitality, I don’t see a lot of Four Seasons customers crossing paths with Airbnb customers. The man who invented the boutique hotel may see what most of us can’t. It’s that vision that should make us not fearful, but anticipatory in thinking about how hoteliers and their vendors approach the market in the future.
If I were going this year, I’d round up some friends, hire a little Beechcraft, and have it fly us into The Virginia Beach Oceanfront Air Show. Before that, however, I would have made my reservation with Airbnb. After all, I’ve got expensive tastes, and it could possibly – quite possibly – be the most luxurious option around.
Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
climbing high into the sun.
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder
At ’em boys, Give ‘er the gun!