The scope and range of products offered by Airbnb have grown since the company’s founding in 2008. In various facilities across the world, they are increasingly hosting business travellers and corporate retreats. They are no longer just a go-to option for weekend getaways and family vacations.
In 2015, 250 businesses registered with Airbnb, according to Bloomberg. In only three years, that number had increased to more than 700,000. The greater emphasis on keeping employees and increasing employee engagement may help to explain this higher uptake.
Managers are more inclined to sanction leisure travel and let business travellers linger through Friday. Additionally, reservations for alternative housing are increasing for a number of reasons that we shall discuss.
While there are advantages to booking business Airbnb stays, there are also restrictions. How do Airbnb listings compare to conventional hotels then? Are they actually appropriate for business travel, and can they provide accommodations that can accommodate working groups?
We’ll look into these issues and offer you a taste of how businesses feel about utilising Airbnb while on the road for business.
So let’s get started.
Airbnb targets the business travel sector
When it comes to describing the advantages of utilising its service for businesses and their employees, Airbnb is forthright. They changed the name of their professional network to Airbnb for Work in 2018 and began aggressively attacking the business travel industry.
As a service, Airbnb develops innovative strategies to attract business visitors. However, it is still uncertain if these are practical answers to the problems associated with business travel.
For instance, business travellers, unlike vacationers, don’t want to spend time exploring the website for ideas and discoveries. They want a solution that is quick, practical, and dependable because they know when and where they’ll be travelling. Travellers may presently browse by category on the Airbnb business travel ready website, including serviced flats and boutique hotels.
Sadly, consumers are sent to pages of possibilities that are ill-suited for business travellers after choosing their desired sort of lodging. While a Wigwam apartment could be entertaining during the holidays, it is hardly the best setting for a business trip.
With the ‘for work’ option, Airbnb hopes to make it simpler for business visitors to find the right properties. You are instantly given the option to restrict search results for accommodations approved for business travel when you register an account using a work email address.
However, business visitors waste a lot of time searching through ads to discover their accommodations since the Airbnb For Work search function continues to be inaccurate. With the help of a reliable concierge service that can offer a variety of options for your schedule, this time might be saved and used more effectively.
Some other aspects are somewhat more effective. For instance, one-click expensing addresses the issue of reimbursement that frustrates business travellers. Travellers can bill the company directly for their lodgings, as opposed to making their reservations on a personal card and having the firm pay them.
Through a customised dashboard, this strategy facilitates cash flow management for the individual and, in principle, facilitates payments for the business. However, businesses must manage separate invoices for lodging, transportation, etc.
Airbnb’s advantages for business travellers
Certainly, in terms of cost, Airbnb is superior. Airbnb rentals can cost up to 40% less than hotel stays and are much less expensive for lengthy excursions. Numerous hosts provide discounted prices for reservations longer than a week and additional savings for monthly leases.
Because of this, Airbnb is ideal for those who are moving and need somewhere to stay while they figure out their new city and seek for their own accommodations. Airbnb rentals are an excellent choice for business travellers who want to prolong their trip and take a few days off without the trouble of switching accommodations from more expensive hotels due to a more affordable pricing.
Airbnb homes sometimes have amenities like a kitchen or washing machine that might be helpful for business visitors. Corporate travellers on a budget might make lengthier work trips more affordable and comfortable by doing their own washing or cooking.
Businesses are eager to get employees together to improve team ties and rediscover common corporate objectives after two turbulent years. Organisations are under greater pressure than ever to put on outstanding business retreats and conferences since employee engagement is closely related to them.
By enabling businesses to rent out a full home for their teams, Airbnb can help with this. The team may either be productive on-site or utilise the house as a basis for the day’s activities by designating specific areas as workplaces or as places to separate for collaborative planning discussions.
Airbnb has been making improvements with business itineraries in mind to increase its appeal to business visitors. They are urging hosts to step up their game and give daily housekeeping, opulent amenities, and more attentive levels of service to match what high-end hotels offer business guests.
By listing their Wi-Fi speed, properties that use this feature to seem work-ready also make it simpler for business travellers to secure a good connection while they are there.
As a platform, Airbnb provides customer service from agents in 11 different languages, round-the-clock, every day of the week. Travel managers are concerned about the fact that this is only possible through messages, which have poor response times and no phone option, in addition to having less security features than hotels.
Using a travel management company rather than a rental service like Airbnb might help make expense tracking simpler. Instead of obtaining individual receipts for each component of their business travellers’ itineraries, travel managers can request that their invoices be merged. In addition to saving time, these solutions also make managing travel expenses quite simple by instantly producing expenditure data.
Hotels still have a modest advantage.
Despite the interesting alternatives to hotels that Airbnb provides for contemporary business travellers, it still has a ways to go before it can compete on all fronts with hotels.
The promise of high-quality accommodations is the first thing to take into account for business travellers. It’s challenging for Airbnb to ensure the actual condition of a house or the friendliness of a host on the ground, even though it has a set of quality criteria for which each host and home is screened. We all know the sins a well-staged snapshot can conceal, so that spacious office could feel a little cosier than anticipated when you first arrive.
To mitigate these risks, Airbnb has added a “super host” filter, enabling business travellers to reserve accommodations that offer top-notch services to their visitors. It’s important to keep in mind, too, that there won’t be nearly as many postings under excellent hosts and work-ready as there are for leisure tourists.
Second, hotels often have better locations. Hotels make it simpler for tourists to commute between where they stay and where they work, whether they are in the middle of a city or adjacent to business parks and conference centres.
Since most business parks are far from residential areas, Airbnb faces difficulties with location, which restricts the alternatives available to business visitors. On longer visits, however, workers could be less picky about where they choose to stay and may not necessarily want to be confined to an industrial park on the outskirts of town.
The fact that business visitors can only book lodging and a limited number of activities on Airbnb is perhaps the biggest hassle. In order to monitor and keep track of passengers’ plans, itineraries will still need to be completed via other websites.
In the end, this complicates billing and makes it more challenging to monitor adherence to company travel regulations and to provide spending reports. Through a business travel agency, corporate travellers and travel managers may simplify the booking process and travel budgets.
Business travellers may select from a variety of lodging and transportation choices on one straightforward dashboard. Additionally, travel managers may arrange automated approvals to save time and define parameters to guarantee compliance.
Accumulating points and bonuses is another advantage of staying in hotels and utilising a travel management firm. Airbnb does not yet have a rewards program for returning guests, but there are whispers that one is on the way.
In contrast, hotels have free memberships where frequent visitors may accumulate points to gain free stays and other fantastic rewards. A lot of credit cards are associated with these programs as well, and while a few of them feature Airbnb among their affiliations, most of them stick to the bigger hotel chains.
Flexibility became a major issue for business travellers during the epidemic, and it is expected to do so for the foreseeable future. In general, hotels have more forgiving cancellation policies, especially for members of their loyalty programs.
Additionally, there is a chance that cancellations with Airbnb rentals will be more frequent. Hotels typically have procedures in place to make sure guests are provided with acceptable lodging elsewhere when reservations are cancelled on the day of arrival.
However, visitors may be left on their own to find alternate accommodations if an Airbnb host has an emergency and cannot honour the booking. These scenarios could put business travellers in risky or challenging circumstances.
Despite the fact that the sharing economy is built on trust, travel managers who use these platforms worry about their safety and security. To keep guests and their valuables safe, hotels provide safes, security cameras, and on-site employees. Additionally, most business travel policies provide protection from item theft or damage when staying at a reputable hotel.
Due to various rules, rentals often have fewer safety features than hotels. For instance, while they would be the norm in major international hotel chains, carbon monoxide detectors are not typically included in individual rentals in many nations.
Although it doesn’t provide the same degree of protection, Airbnb is working to solve security issues. Background checks are done on all American users by Airbnb, and hosts are vetted against terrorism and regulatory sanctions.
The software also offers a customised, if fairly simplistic, dashboard where travel managers may monitor guests’ lodging. Travel managers could opt to utilise a more sophisticated risk management system with real-time alerts for possible dangers and more integration with their travellers’ itinerary. Overall, according to Airbnb, security is strongly dependent on a sense of community among its users, but this ethos might not be sufficient for the protection of business visitors.
Should I use Airbnb for my upcoming business trip?
Not sure if Airbnb is the best option for your upcoming business trip? This quick checklist might be useful;
How long does this business trip last?
Airbnb accommodations are frequently better suited for journeys lasting longer than a week.
Discounts are given by hosts for weekly and monthly reservations.
Ideal for those moving or on longer journeys where guests would value amenities like kitchens and washing machines.
Who will be using this itinerary to travel?
Better for business traveller groups.
Airbnb accommodations might not be suited for lone travellers due to safety issues and more distant settings.
What does this business trip have to accomplish?
For newcomers who have moved, Airbnb homes provide excellent bases.
may provide motivational settings for business retreats, enabling teams to reassemble and have innovative brainstorming sessions in a new setting.
Short travels are less ideal since they frequently take place outside of commercial districts.
Do I require particular amenities for my business travellers?
Travellers on business might opt to stay in a hotel with cleaning services, a gym, and room service.