Three weeks ago, NYU Stern professor Scott Galloway signed off for the last time on Winners and Losers. Galloway’s weekly series, Winners and Losers, had a brilliant four year run.
The series chalked up 50 million views over the years; a fact that Galloway doesn’t exactly shy away from in the final installment. Personally, I’ve been a fan of the sharp, incisive, and sometimes even wilfully incendiary commentary that Galloway has been turning out through the series. Add zany cultural references and crystal clear infographics to that mix and we had a presenter who truly knew how to hold our attention. A skill he probably picked up while teaching at NYU Stern. Check out the series finale here:
Or an episode that’s emblematic of his story telling style, and among the most popular: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO6nUTFsYEs
Episode 196: Disrupting the Disruptors
I picked a different episode from the series to discuss today – mostly because I believe that Galloway’s assessment in that is far too simplistic. In Disrupting the Disruptors, Galloway warned the hotel industry that they “should fear Google the way retailers fear Amazon.” Google (and other tech monopolies) he says “operate with a very simple playbook: moving from “‘We are here to help you” to “We are you” to finally saying “We are here to kill you.’”
I’d suggest watching the 5 minute video before you read more:
If you know anything about my work, you’ll know that this episode hits close to home. I work in the hotel tech industry, come from a hotelier family, and Go Moment, the company where I serve as CEO, is backed by Google. If I line that up – tech industry innovators, a hotelier background, Google backed company – naturally I’d want to discuss this episode.
When Galloway says that the hotel industry isn’t adapting fast enough to disruptors like Airbnb – I agree with him. I’d add though that this is primarily true for big brand, chain hotels. Smaller and more focused outfits, including casino resorts and independent hotels, are, in fact, pace setters in the fast-changing world of travel. They are well aware that consumers have declared war on lodging-as-a-service and now instead seek experiences-as-a-service, with lodging being merely one component of their decision. At the risk of plugging Go Moment, take a look at this NBC report of what Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has done:
Galloway, though, doesn’t distinguish between hotels. Consequently his point of view of hotels is a universalised, simplistic one. That may make sense in the US, where a majority of the ~55,000 hotels are branded.
And about Google wanting to demolish the hotel industry? That isn’t universally applicable either. Google’s Hotel Tools in fact positively impact the revenue streams for smaller, independent hotels since they don’t have the massive budgets for ad campaigns that the larger players do.
We are not “on the precipice of a war against the hotel industry” as Galloway says. We’re definitely on the cusp of major change away from a lodging industry and towards an experience industry.
What do you think — agree or disagree with Galloway?