Airbnb, the sharing economy’s accommodations booking network, says it has seen a huge expansion of interest from companies that want to incorporate the site into their corporate travel programs.
Within 24 hours of the rollout last month of its new global travel management suite, Airbnb said, 500 companies signed on. (No word yet on how many business travelers have bunked in with Airbnb yet, though.)
“There are now more than one thousand businesses from over 35 countries around the world who are formally making Airbnb part of their corporate travel programs,” the company said. “Among this roster are Fortune 1000 companies, including Google, who are allowing employees to benefit from Airbnb’s wide range of accommodations available in more than 190 countries.”
The site’s business travel suite gives member companies a variety of tools that help their travel departments incorporate Airbnb bookings into their systems, including information on traveler itineraries, financial reporting and centralized billing.
Airbnb noted that business travelers tend to stay longer at its member properties than at regular commercial hotels. The average length of stay for a business traveler at an AirBnB accommodation is 6.8 days, the site said, suggesting that “customers are looking for a mix of business and leisure, and often adding a weekend to explore a new destination.”
In a pilot project under way in the San Francisco area, Airbnb has reportedly started testing a new kind of search capability that will allow business travelers to find specific properties offering the kinds of amenities and services they are likely to want, like Wi-Fi, laptop-friendly work spaces, 24-hour access to keys on check-in day, and certain minimum quality ratings.
However, the consistency craved by business travelers is still lacking in Airbnb’s eclectic mix, which means that despite a lot of interest, standard hotel offerings remain the first choice among most.
Have you tried Airbnb for a business trip yet? Would you? Please leave your comments below.
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