First Airbnb teamed up with Delta, Virgin America and Qantas to help its renters earn airline miles or points for their stays. It has also been increasing the number of “business travel ready” rental accommodations in its database. An now the room-sharing giant is making it easier for road warriors to find them.
The company said it has developed a new filter for property searches so that only the business-travel-ready listings appear in the results. Those are accommodations that feature Wi-Fi, self-check-in, and “laptop friendly workspaces,” for instance. The new feature also permits instant bookings for listed properties – i.e., the user doesn’t have to wait for the host to get back to them.
The new search capability is available for both desktop and mobile searches. To access it, users must link their work email address to their account. Users can register as business travelers and find out more the company’s business-ready properties at www.airbnb.com/business-travel.
Airbnb said that although it started out as a service for leisure travelers, it has been making significant inroads into the business travel market, which now accounts for almost 10 percent of its bookings. The number of “business travel ready” accommodations in its database is now more than 150,000 worldwide.
Last year, the company came out with a third-party booking tool so that company travel departments can book and change reservations for employees and contact the property host for details. It also took steps to integrate its systems with travel management companies, and introduced “business friendly receipts” to streamline expensing of trips.
Delta SkyMiles members earn one mile per dollar spent on qualifying stays (not counting taxes and fees) when they book Airbnb accommodations through a link on the Delta website. The new Delta connection came just a few weeks after Airbnb forged a similar link with Qantas’ loyalty program. That one also earns one point per dollar spent, and also requires booking through the Qantas website. Virgin America has had a similar loyalty program link with Airbnb (but the fine print says that it’s only good through June 30 of this year. United added it to its MileagePlus X smartphone app last year, but regrettably disabled it in November.
American Express Membership Rewards members can also redeem points for Airbnb stays.
“Stay on the lookout for more from us in 2017 – from integrating with corporate travel booking tools, making it easier to rebook the business travel ready listing you absolutely loved, to offering easier access to amenities like gyms and co-working spaces,” the company said.
Does this new search feature make it more likely that you’ll try Airbnb for business travel… or if you are already a regular user, will you use it more? What’s your overall experience or impression of it?