Look out, hotels: Airbnb means business
Friday, December 05, 2014
In July, Airbnb announced its formal foray into the business travel industry by signing a partnership with Concur. The company looked at the big data and saw how business travel could be a lucrative source of revenue. Airbnb designed a portal specifically for this purpose, making it easier and more tempting for businesses to book rooms through them.
The choice of cheaper and easier bookings for frequent travelers and larger groups without compromising on the quality of stay has been a welcome one. Companies are showing strong interest because there is now an option to manage their travel budgets without sacrificing the comforts of their employees, even in a budget cut. As Airbnb's head of global hospitality Chip Conley puts it, "nearly 10 percent of Airbnb's customers travel for business ... this type of offering is high on their wish list."
Since this fall, Concur's TripLink service has been connected to Airbnb properties directly, making it easy for customers to book the stay of their choice. Concur officials have stated that the growth in the use of Airbnb by business travelers has seen a meteoric rise this year, not just for domestic destinations but for international travels as well.
Apart from Concur, Airbnb has also signed partnerships with other tech companies like Lyft, Evernote and Salesforce. As more partners are integrating Airbnb options into their corporate travel booking systems, business is booming. With companies focusing and operating under tighter budgets, it seems Airbnb has given them a new lease of life. They can now look beyond hotels into more affordable apartments and houses that provide a more personal feel and comfort factor.
But it would be wrong to look at Airbnb as a brand that takes business away from the hotels. For major metropolitan areas, they have actually been a boon for the business travelers. As officials have pointed out, cities like San Francisco and New York are in a sellout mode during megaconferences and events. Services like Airbnb not only offer travelers room but also help them beat the inflated hotel rate at these times.
Travel companies are also offering Airbnb options to clients who are looking at creative ways to travel on a budget. Increase in business travel bookings has a two-way advantage for Airbnb. Hosts who are registered with the company prefer business travelers who offer lesser hassles and typically low management. They also book through the weekdays — unlike vacationers — which means that the properties see brisk business in what otherwise would have been vacant sites.
It is no wonder that the industry and the media are all abuzz about the young brand. Rocketrip's 2014 Business Travel Saver Report has mentioned Airbnb as a major money-saver option over hotels. The report mentioned that booking through Airbnb can help one save 41 percent on lodging costs or an average of $102 per night. This home-sharing empire has also been announced as Inc.'s 2014 Company of the Year.
The hotel industry lashed out at Airbnb, which seemed to come out of nowhere and immediately take a big bite of their pie. Many municipal authorities are up in arms as well in order to derive proper tax benefits out of this new room-sharing industry.
But as the company expands into business travel and more business travelers continue to book through it, hotels are forced to open their eyes to the truth. Airbnb is here to stay, they cannot be bullied away. What the hotels must do is come up with creative ways to lure back the business traveler instead.
A look at the data shows why businesses are choosing this brand over hotels. Airbnb offers immense comfort for people traveling in groups. This is even truer for small business travelers who are on a budget yet need more work space and sometimes more room to breathe when working together.
With these right choices on the platter, it seems that the new brand on the block is all set to become a veritable force soon. No wonder the hotel industry is worried.
- 13 ways to screw up your RV
- 6 All-American Roads that you simply can’t miss
- 7 critical trade show mistakes you’re making and don’t know it
- Full-time RV living: Should you buy a 5th wheel or a motorized RV?
- The best of America’s Shakespeare festivals
- 7 key trends emerging in the hospitality industry
- Oops! Learn a lesson from these awkward RV mistakes
- Motorhome living: The simple life
- 4 inexpensive ways to motivate your team through a long project
- Trauma training is imperative for K-12 students, employees
- Healthcare groups: Payers are lagging with prior authorization reform
- How cutting-edge robotics bring manufacturing into a new age
- America may need to rethink how it handles recycling
See your work in future editions
Your content, Your Expertise,
Your Industry Needs YOUR Expert Voice & We've got the platform you needFind Out How