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Small companies are leading the charge when it comes to using Airbnb for business travel. Lower prices when compared to hotels, and accommodations with better locations in pricy cities, have no doubt contributed to the trend.

For many reasons, it’s now commonplace for business travelers to experiment with shared accommodation services like Airbnb. New research from Concur shows that small companies are more likely to use Airbnb, in particular, and more likely to spend only a limited amount on the service.

Concur looked at more than 320,000 Airbnb expenses totaling $77 million over two years, and found that early adopters of the service have worked in the fields of technology and higher education.

“Airbnb has drawn the majority of its business revenue from travelers in the technology and academia sectors,” claims the report. “In Q2 2016, eight of the top 20 spenders on Airbnb are technology companies, whose employees might flock faster to sharing-economy services than others, and six of the top 20 Airbnb spenders are universities, which may require employees to find more cost-efficient accommodations than some hotel chains offer.”

Concur’s research shows that after a period of 32 percent year-over-year growth in the number of organizations using Airbnb, from Q2 2015 to Q2 2016, Airbnb’s rate of expansion in corporate travel could actually be slowing.

Here are three takeaways from Concur’s research.

Airbnb’s year-over-year biz travel growth is huge

Table 1 – Global year over year percentage growth in Airbnb usage.
Spend Expenses Users
2014-2015 Q3 110 101 98
2014-2015 Q4 74 71 77
2015-2016 Q1 51 69 63
2015-2016 Q2 42 50 44

Companies are eager to try Airbnb, although the rate of growth has tailed off over the course of the last year, particularly for spending.

“While hotel spend still accounts for the majority of business lodging spend, there’s an increase in business travelers exploring alternative lodging, especially during major conferences and events,” said Tim MacDonald, Concur’s executive vice president of global products.

Most companies using airbnb aren’t spending much


This chart shows the spending of small-to-medium-sized businesses on Airbnb according to Concur. The average Airbnb expense was $242, suggesting that Airbnb is mostly being used for short business trips.

Just a handful of companies spent more than $10,000 on Airbnb in the eight quarter period examined for this report.

Most Businesses use airbnb in san francisco


San Francisco and London were the two most popular cities overall for business travel Airbnb bookings, likely due to the high cost of hotel rooms.

“The popularity of Airbnb among business travelers booking in San Francisco could reflect a few factors,” states the report. “As the founding city of Airbnb and a technology hub, San Francisco likely has embraced the digital and sharing economy rapidly, perhaps offering more options for business travelers than other cities. In addition, business travelers might see Airbnb as an opportunity to explore many of the city’s scenic neighborhoods that are beyond walking distance from major hotels. Exploring neighborhoods likely plays a large factor in the appeal of Airbnb to business travelers booking in London, as well.”

Average U.S. Airbnb business travel expenses were high in major cities; New York was $271, followed by $252 in San Francisco,  $245 in Los Angeles, and $151 in Chicago.


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Tags: airbnb, concur

Photo credit: San Francisco is the most popular city for business travel-oriented Airbnb bookings, according to Concur. Pictured here are houses in San Francisco's Alamo Square. Blue / Flickr

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