By now, just about everyone has heard about global accommodations company Airbnb. After all, more than 2 million users celebrated the start of 2017 by staying in an Airbnb for New Year’s Eve, shattering all previous one-night records.
If you are among the blissfully ignorant few, Airbnb is a web- and mobile-based platform that allows homeowners the opportunity to rent out a room or an entire home on a nightly basis and thereby providing alternative accommodations that save travelers from overpriced hotels while also adding a personal, sometimes whimsical, charm to otherwise stuffy places.
What you may not know is that Airbnb isn’t just for camera-toting tourists and unwanted visiting in-laws; almost 10 percent of Airbnb users are traveling for business.
Airbnb already offers leisure travelers all the amenities and comforts of home, including free parking, WiFi, and often a kitchen or kitchenette. Moreover, with more than 2 million listings in more than 34,000 cities worldwide, chances are users will find a homey place to stay just a stone’s throw from wherever their company sends them, making off-duty time feel more like a vacation.
“We have found that business travel is becoming less about being a road warrior and more about ‘bleisure,’ or ‘bizcation.’ People are increasingly combining business trips with weekend stays, which fits in well with Airbnb’s diverse offerings,” said an Airbnb representative.
To facilitate this, Airbnb’s business travel program makes it easier for travelers and their employers to stay in an Airbnb accommodation by working directly with employers to streamline travel expense reporting. Companies like Google, SoundCloud, and Twilio already are using this service to pay Airbnb directly for accommodations.
Moreover, hosts of business listings are held to a much higher standard than regular Airbnb hosts. Only entire home/apartment listings will qualify, meaning employees will have the place to themselves rather than crashing in the guest room at a stranger’s house. Check-in must be available around the clock and hosts also must reply to 90 percent of booking requests within 24 hours, have a record free of cancellations, and they must have five-star reviews for cleanliness and accuracy.
Meanwhile, hosts also benefit from their home’s status as a business-friendly accommodation by ensuring that more mid-week dates are filled when business travel is more likely to occur. Greater occupancy means greater returns.
Companies interested in enrolling in this program can visit the Airbnb business website for more information, and current Airbnb users can browse current business listings by looking for a small briefcase icon on everyday listings.