Alternative lodging company Airbnb has taken several steps in the past couple of years to make its rental accommodations more attractive to business travelers – creating filtered searches for member properties that have business amenities, building links to corporate expense reporting systems, and so on.
Now the company is testing the addition of one more service that many business travelers require but Airbnb properties can’t provide on-site: A way to reserve professional office space and/or a meeting room at the destination.
The company has targeted six major cities – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Sydney and London – for a test program that will let Airbnb guests reserve those kinds of facilities at a location close to their lodging.
The program involves a partnership with WeWork Companies, which operates rental space worldwide for business travelers who need a desk, high-speed Wi-Fi, printers, and meeting rooms, according to a report in Bloomberg News.
WeWork is one of the world’s largest providers of such services, claiming 228 buildings in 53 cities and metro areas, including 23 in the U.S. Its customers include not only business travelers but also companies looking for temporary quarters and the growing number of local freelancers and other self-employed workers looking for desk space in a professional environment.
The partnership has not yet been formally announced, so there was no immediate information on the kinds of rates WeWork might be offering Airbnb guests for its office space, Bloomberg said.
Other recent initiatives from Airbnb to pry business travelers away from traditional full-service hotels include earning opportunities in some frequent traveler programs, and the creation of a luxury category of Airbnb member properties.
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