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Airbnb has long been a big problem for corporate travel managers, leading to leakage and safety concerns when travelers decide to stay in an apartment or shared home instead of an approved hotel room.
It now appears, however, that Airbnb is primed to make major inroads into the corporate travel marketplace.
Concur will introduce Airbnb listings to its Concur Travel booking tool sometime in the next few months, marking a major milestone for the sharing economy giant.
Concur’s data show a 33 percent year-over-year increase in Airbnb usage among business travelers in the second quarter of 2017, and this new integration will make it easier for travel managers to track where their travelers are and for travelers to automatically expense their Airbnb stays.
“Our customers want to give their employees the ability to take advantage of Airbnb lodging, but within the framework and controls of their existing travel program,” said Tim MacDonald, chief product officer at Concur, in a statement. “We partnered with Airbnb to do exactly that. First with TripLink and now with Concur Travel integration, we are providing the control and visibility our customers require, while helping travel managers fulfill their duty of care needs.”
The other major global travel management companies already have connections with Airbnb, but the reach of Concur’s online booking tool is notable for business travelers. This will be the first time, according to Concur, that Airbnb will be bookable through a corporate online booking tool. Neither Airbnb or Concur would disclose the financial relationship; whether or not commissions are being paid, and whether the host or Airbnb are paying any distribution costs.
Overall, research shows that most corporate travel policies still don’t include homesharing lodging options. Just 17 percent of travel policies allow homesharing, according to a poll of North American travel managers conducted by the Global Business Travel Association in early 2017.