Airbnb, the home-sharing application that helps to book lodging in more than 65,000 cities worldwide, this week starts a service for business travelers. Road warriors will be able to select homes and apartments that San Francisco-based Airbnb has classified as Business Travel Ready, Bloomberg reported.
- More than 250,000 companies, such as Google parent Alphabet, Domino’s Pizza and investment bank Morgan Stanley are using Airbnb for business travel. The number of people that signed up with Airbnb to book business travel will quadruple in 2017 from a year earlier, said David Holyoke, head of Airbnb's business travel division.
- Airbnb requires a host seeking business travelers to provide a desk, Wi-Fi, self-check-in, and such hotel-like amenities as free shampoo, a hairdryer and iron.
Business travel is on a solid growth trajectory, which bodes well for Airbnb. U.S. business travel spending will reach $296 billion by the end of this year and grow 5.2% in 2018, the Global Business Travel Association forecasts. The trade group last month found that home-sharing is only allowed by one out of six corporate travel policies, providing more room for growth as companies get more comfortable with the idea and seek to save money on travel and entertainment costs.
Airbnb is smart to target millennials, those born after 1980 who are comfortable with technology and are entering the workforce in droves. Younger professionals are more likely to mix business and pleasure, the company found. Half of travelers who book business travel extended their stay through a Saturday night, Bloomberg reported.
With the percentage of business travelers using Airbnb expected to grow from 18% last year to 23% this year, according to Morgan Stanley research, hotel chains will need to find ways to boost their value proposition. The biggest threat to Airbnb is from lawmakers in regions where hotel taxes and fees are a significant percentage of revenue. New York City last year passed a law making it illegal to advertise unhosted rentals of less than 30 days in multifamily buildings.