Lunchtime Links: Could Airbnb Damage the Room Block Model for Events?

Airbnb is growing really fast right now, and its impact on the events industry could be even bigger a few years from now, one conference pro argues. Also: Those browser extensions you rely on might be more malicious than you think.

Airbnb is growing rapidly, and its impact on the events industry could be even bigger a few years from now, one conference pro argues. Also: Those browser extensions you rely on might be more malicious than you think.

The sharing economy is having a moment right now. Between taxi alternatives like Lyft and task-sharing companies like TaskRabbit, there’s a lot of potential for peer-based startups to break into well-entrenched industries.

One popular startup that’s giving the hotel industry fits, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Airbnb vs. room blocks: As Associations Now‘s Rob Stott noted in a recent article, a campaign targeting convention-goers is touting the value of traditional hotel room blocks set aside for conferences, but it comes in the face of a tough competitor: Airbnb. Conferences That Work author Adrian Segar ponders the issue, considering the value proposition Airbnb offers, and ultimately sees the potential for the fast-growing company to make a big impact on the meetings business. “As meeting designer who is occasionally given responsibility for attendee accommodations, I fully understand the reasons for room blocks and will continue to use them myself whenever possible,” he says. “The question remains whether more meeting attendees will, like me, join the Airbnb bandwagon and add it to their list of alternatives to the room block. Only time will tell, but my gut feeling is that over the next five to 10 years Airbnb will noticeably reduce the demand for in block housing, creating a significant impact on how we’ll need to plan our meeting accommodations.”

Alarming add-ons: For many users, they may be the best parts of Chrome and Firefox. But according to a series of recent reports from Ars Technica and LifeHacker, a number of popular browser extensions or plug-ins may be adding a few things you probably don’t want on your computer—including adware and cookies that track your every move. The problem for users is that the apps’ status as malware was something of a bait-and-switch. Users would install the extensions, only for the developers to sell them to companies that later added an automatic update placing unwanted ads on various sites. The tech site HowToGeek has a list of plug-ins to watch out for.

Time to simplify? Simple, flat, static, and with a lot of scrolling. That’s where web design is heading in 2014, according to Frogloop’s Allyson Kapin, who offered a quick overview of the landscape to SocialFish. One thing that’s on the way out, apparently? The Javascript-based slider, an old standby for organizational websites. “Organizations have loved sliders for the past few years because it provided an easy way to highlight key priorities for the organization,” she writes. “However, over the years, some data shows it’s only the first slider that generates much clicks.” Instead of several images in an animated slider, expect a single, larger image—a change that might pose a problem for organizations without an on-staff graphic designer.

What’s the coolest association site you’ve seen lately? Tell us all about it in the comments.

Airbnb founder Brian Chesky has played up his company's growth compared to the hotel industry at large in recent months. (photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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