Airbnb is gaining traction among business travelers, and corporate travel managers are increasingly integrating the platform into their travel programs to help streamline their employees’ trips.
In the last few years, Airbnb’s rise of popularity among leisure travelers has been spilling over into business travel. A growing percentage of corporate employees, who have used Airbnb for leisure purposes, want to recreate the local, authentic experience for their work-related trips.
Among business travelers, 12 percent used Airbnb in 2015. That number jumped to 18 percent in 2016. Due to the changing demands of business travelers, corporate travel managers have started integrating alternative accommodation services such as Airbnb into their managed travel programs.
Airbnb launched Airbnb for Work this past summer, and recently teamed up with WeWork for a pilot program in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., London and Sydney, which allows its corporate customers who book with Airbnb to reserve a desk or conference room at the closest WeWork location.
Beyond the employee-centric benefits of using Airbnb for business travel, the service also offers advantages for corporate travel managers, especially when it comes to tracking an employee’s movement and spending. By using Airbnb for Work, travel managers can now access a dashboard to manage extended bookings, corporate relocations, corporate retreats and conference travel.
Through the dashboard, travel managers can employ the use of an array of tools that analyze different elements of the entire corporate travel journey. The dashboard is broken up into four different tabs: Activity, Reporting, People, and Settings.
Under the Activity tab, travel managers can see full booking details for any employee’s upcoming trip. The dashboard geotags trips on Google Maps, so it’s quick and easy for managers to get an immediate sense of where employees are located in real time if the company needs to make contact in case of an emergency.
The Reporting tab allows managers to view how many guests they’re booking, as well as how much employees are spending on an average daily rate. This feature could help companies create incentive programs that motivate both managers and employees to spend less on travel costs.
The Airbnb for Work dashboard also allows managers to delegate supervising privileges to other employees and access other logistical information on travelers, bookers, managers, and groups.
As long as employees use a designated corporate email when they book their travel, managers will be able to track and manage where they are staying and access all other trip information. Today, Airbnb’s corporate travel client base includes employees at more than 275,000 companies.
Airbnb’s for Work dashboard acts as a centralized digital ecosystem, parallel to the intuitive interface and streamlined experience of Airbnb’s consumer site. According to Skift’s report on Airbnb, the dashboard has been a game changer in the industry over the past two years.
“The overall process is much more professional now, compared to before when we started using Airbnb about four years ago,” said Sabine Buselmeier, Travel Manager with the Ganter Group. “There was a time when I had to go through a third-party agency, and they would send a 10-page contract to rent a private apartment. Now everything is easy [with Airbnb], and I can get things done much more quickly.”
Buselmeier said using Airbnb has improved the transparency and property evaluation of the process of booking a private apartment because there are fewer people involved in the whole process, but the information is still displayed equally to everyone. Buselmeier also said the platform has helped productivity since managers can go into the system at any time and make amendments to bookings. It has also made expense reporting easier by providing different types of spend metrics, Buselmeier said.
Airbnb for Work can also be integrated with third-party platforms that are commonly used in the corporate travel world. Some of the programs supports include Concur, American Express Global Business Travel, BCD Travel and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
For more information about the rise of home-sharing in corporate travel, download the 2017 Skift + Airbnb report: Demystifying Airbnb For Corporate Travel Managers.
This content was created collaboratively by Airbnb and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.