Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 28 2014

Airbnb Is Getting Really Serious About Business Travel

By Daniel Metz

As more travelers explore alternatives to traditional lodging options, start-up-turned-formidable-hospitality-company Airbnb is hoping to cash in one of the most coveted segments of the hotel industry: business travelers.

On Monday, the California-based company officially launched a new portal specifically for business travelers. In addition to narrowing search results that will be more relevant to on-the-go employees, Airbnb is hoping that the offering will reduce one of the main headaches of business travel: expenses. The company is partnering with Concur, a spend management solutions firm, to pre-populate expense reports for guests.

SEE ALSO: Another Sign That Airbnb Is A Serious Threat To The Hotel Industry

A Trend That’s Already Taking Off

While Airbnb may not seem like a destination for travelers with corporate cards, the company has already been receiving plenty of attention from business travelers.

“Nearly ten percent of Airbnb’s customers travel for business already, and we’ve heard from customers that this type of offering is high on their wish list,” Chip Conley, Airbnb’s head of global hospitality, said.

From ZipCar to UberX to Airbnb, travelers are showing support for an affordable sharing economy.

“We’ve noticed that business travelers are increasingly taking advantage of a new generation of suppliers like Airbnb,” Tim McDonald, executive vice president at Concur, said. “Employees clearly want Airbnb in their managed travel program, and we think that trajectory will continue.”

Decision-makers at major companies are beginning to turn to new providers for travel solutions. Evernote, Eventbrite and Salesforce have already signed up to work with Airbnb.

“Since integrating Airbnb into our travel options, the feedback has been terrific,” Ralph Colunga, senior director of global travel, meetings and expense at Salesforce said. “Our employees now have a service for booking everything from a one-day trip to a six-month relocation. The Airbnb/Concur integration opens up new possibilities for managed travel.”

SEE ALSO: Should Hoteliers Be More Concerned About This Company?

What Does Airbnb Mean For Your Room Block?

Meeting planners have encountered plenty of historical challenges in filling their contracted rooms, but Airbnb will present a new hurdle. If attendees start to explore peer-to-peer rentals for overnight trips, what’s to stop them from doing the same during a four-day annual meeting?

How do you plan to adjust marketing your room block as more attendees begin to discover alternatives? Go to Catalyst to share your perspectives on the future of attendee accommodations.

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