Airbnb is back at it again, this time targeting the business traveler. We consistently talk about the need to grow and adapt to the changing environment around us, and Airbnb is a great example of this. The company has continuously evolved and recently the company announced that 15% of their bookings come from business travelers. As hotel owners, it is important to pay attention to how this was achieved and how you can combat the competition.

Airbnb for Work

The newest feature, Airbnb for Work, allows employees to book an Airbnb from a custom company site and then directly charge the company. Filters such as price point, location, and other factors can be applied to find the best place to stay depending on what the traveler is looking for. As an example, if you work at Domino’s, you would go to Dominos.Airnb.com and search for a place to stay. After booking through the site, the company is charged. This eliminates the need for employees to submit travel expense reports and can potentially save companies more money. As of right now, approximately 700,000 companies have had employees sign up and utilize Airbnb for Work. Additionally, Airbnb has integrated with Concur Travel, allowing the business traveler to book through that platform as well.

Problems

For years, hotels were inconsistent across their brands. Now, when you book a hotel through a popular brand,  you know exactly what you’re getting when you book because it is the same every time. Airbnb is running into this problem of consistency and has already faced backlash for the inconsistency amongst bookings. When someone travels for business, the quality of their stay is the last thing on their minds and don’t want to have to deal with a stressful stay. Many of the people who rent their homes out on Airbnb do not understand the lodging industry, causing issues for travelers who are used to consistency. The more things the business traveler can keep constant, the more likely they will stay again. We know that Airbnb is always adapting, so the next move for them might be to set standards for the business rentals like hiring local cleaning companies coming in before and after guests.

 

We are also interested in the where the 15% of bookings is coming from. Do people enjoy Airbnbs more than hotels? Did they travel somewhere without many hotel options? Was there a big conference and they couldn’t book a room? As hotels, we want to pay attention to why those people chose Airbnb over the hotel experience and begin to adapt or change the stay for guests.

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