Dr. Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., C.S.P., is an internationally sought-after speaker, author, and organizational consultant. Dr. Joseph Michelli is the author of numerous national bestsellers, including The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary, The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a  

Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and the New York Times #1 bestseller Prescription for Excellence: Leadership Lessons for Creating a World Class Customer Experience from UCLA Health System

He was named as one of the Top 10 thought leaders in Customer Service by Global Gurus. His new book is The Airbnb Way: 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging. Dr. Michelli is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. 

Podcast Highlights

  • Who is Joseph Michelli? 

Joseph was a kid raised in a small town in Colorado and his parents imparted a key lesson to him when he was young. Namely, the responsibility of being raised in that family was that he would give more to the world than he took, and if he did the world would give more to him than he could ask for.

Being accepted into graduate school was quite an achievement for Joseph, no one else in his family had graduated from college at the time. He was pretty focused on his own success in his career for a while until he realized that it wasn’t really about him at all, it’s about telling the stories of the clients he worked with as a consultant. Ultimately, those experiences helped Joseph write books about other people to tell their stories.

All of the art of success is taking great principles and celebrating the victories of people you work with and people who are doing inspiring things in the world. The world is hungry for uplifting positive leadership and tools that enable them to experience their own greatness.

  • Inspiring Greatness

We are in a world where short term rentals have blown up and AirBnB is a point in that journey. They created a marketplace that unlocked incredible potential for millions of people and now they are on the same playing field as historical giants like Marriott.

  • What is hospitality?

Hospitality is taking the basics of service like being responsive, acting with urgency, get it right and make it right, and consistency, and then adding on the understanding of human needs that go beyond a transaction. It’s about an emotional experience where someone cared for and about me in a world that is often very lonely and strange.

The real estate itself is the table stakes of getting into the game. The experience is far more important and that’s the element that’s missing in the corporate way of doing things. In many ways the big hospitality companies are trying to emulate the more successful short term rental operations.

Solopreneurs will always have an edge over massive businesses because they’re more nimble and can provide a more personal touch. A smaller player can always be a more personal player than any large service provider.

  • AirBnB vs The Old Model

AirBnB looked for people with the expertise and sought them out as mentors. A lot of AirBnB’s success is in the practice of looking for mentors and seeking out information from people that know more.

Part of the notion of seeking insights from someone else is in seeking community. Hosts in AirBnB do more than offer a place to stay, they create jobs and opportunities in the community they operate in. One of the things that AirBnB has done really well is in advocating for short term rental rights.

Loyalty comes from helping guests feel something. AirBnB is selling belonging as part of the experience. If operators drive loyalty back to the platform that will keep driving revenue back to them.

The host community is on the whole very welcoming but there is always a subset of the population that wants to live out their prejudices. AirBnB has taken steps to correct that tendency and police the one off incidents. It’s a work in progress but the situation is getting better.

There is a need to be a responsible host so some level of regulation seems to be necessary. The issue is when regulations become overreaching and start dictating what people can do with their own property. There is an incredible amount of industry that is being created by the short term rental space. 

  • What are some potential pitfalls of the growth of the short term rental space?

Regulations are certainly a concern, a lot will depend on what happens when AirBnB goes public next year. Market share will be an issue they need to deal with in the near future as well. Scandal is another, some brands become big targets for entire industries. 

Reference: The Airbnb Way: 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging, Joseph Michelli

  • Joseph’s Takeaway

First and foremost, you have to say you have something of value to create in the world and you are going to define that value clearly. It’s always a matter of understanding the market and then articulating the value that you bring to it. Business is not as complicated as we make it out to be. Just go and start and keep in mind the five dimensions of a successful business.



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