September 12, 2018

From co-working spaces to apartment sharing, today’s tech start-ups are turning traditional office and hotel markets upside down. Airbnb’s latest partnership with real estate giant Century 21 shows how this trend is going one step further: A real estate company that has been around for nearly half a century is trying to break into modern real estate trends.

While this partnership shows immediate implications for the residential real estate industry, it means big things for CRE, too. This partnership between a major real estate firm and a tech-focused home-sharing company is a major disruption that has the potential to ripple into the CRE industry as well. So how can CRE firms leverage start-ups to their advantage like Century 21?

Why did Airbnb partner with Century 21?

To combat recent regulations on home-sharing in Europe, Airbnb and Century 21 decided to enter into a partnership that could benefit both companies as well as landlords. With this partnership, Parisian renters can request Airbnb-friendly leases through Century 21, which explicitly allows a renter to sublet an apartment on the platform. Then, Century 21 and the landlord each get a cut of the host’s profits, and Airbnb collects a transaction fee.

How could this impact CRE?

Partnerships like the one between Century 21 and Airbnb could easily extend beyond residential real estate. Co-working spaces like Impact Hub, WeWork and Your Alley are becoming increasingly popular alongside apartment sharing apps and websites like Airbnb. CRE brokerages could soon mimic the Airbnb-Century 21 partnership with these co-sharing companies, and make a profit doing so.

Rather than seeing up-and-coming industry disruptors like this as a hindrance on traditional CRE markets, CRE professionals should embrace them. Those who ignore the growing home- and office-sharing trend could miss out on some profitable partnerships and unique opportunities to expand their business.

Are you interested in learning more about the intersection of technology and office CRE? Check out our resource on the future of office technology and its impact on CRE.

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