Skift Take

Duty of care and traveler safety is top of mind for corporate travel managers today, understandably so. Airbnb has made traveler trust and security a focus for all who book with them, both on the leisure and business side.

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Business travelers want more flexibility throughout every aspect of their travel experiences, and where they stay is a big part of that. As more travelers have experienced alternative accommodations such as Airbnb during their leisure travels, demand for these types of accommodations has grown among business travelers.

Airbnb booking data from Q2 2015 through Q2 2016, collected by Concur, shows just how much demand has grown. The number of companies using Airbnb for corporate travel increased by 32 percent during this time period, while overall spend increased by 42 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, research from Morgan Stanley shows that 18 percent of business travelers booked on Airbnb in 2016, up from 12 percent in 2015.

“I think what we’re seeing is what we’re calling the ‘consumerization of business travelers,’” said Jeanne Liu, vice president of research for Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). “It’s what you do in your regular consumer life. If you use ride-sharing and home-sharing, or if there are certain apps you like to use, it’s going to go into how you plan and how you pick your options in business travel as well.”

While traveler demands are shifting, many corporate travel managers have been hesitant to integrate alternative accommodations services such as Airbnb into their programs, due to concern about how such services can ensure guest safety and duty of care.

In this day and age where it seems like anything can happen, the concern about ensuring duty-of-care for travelers is definitely valid. Airbnb realizes this, and has made trust and security a prime focus of its Airbnb For Work service. As Erin Sink, trust and safety operations manager at Airbnb says, “the trust and and security of Airbnb’s global community is very much the most important thing that we focus on everyday.”

Airbnb has invested in technology and human resources to provide duty of care oversight for both business and leisure travelers. Airbnb’s global team is composed of more than 250 people. The team is in charge of seeking out potential risks before they happen, and support both guests and hosts when they need help.

“For corporate travel managers, their fundamental role is to look out for the safety and security of their employees, both in terms of duty of care and knowing where their people are so they can provide risk assessment to help mitigate any challenges when they travel,” says Sink.

To help give corporate travel managers peace of mind, Airbnb created an Airbnb for Work dashboard that allows them to view where every employee is traveling, staying, and if they’re booking with additional guests. The Airbnb for Work dashboard also integrates other duty of care providers like iJET and ISOS, so managers can see where employees are staying, regardless of their choice being a Marriott or an Airbnb.

As Nick Shapiro, global head of trust and risk management says, “There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to ensure everyone using the service is safe.” Airbnb conducts global watchlist checks, background checks for hosts and guests in the U.S., and provides home safety workshops, which include free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Airbnb also safeguards all accounts with multi-factor authentication and doesn’t release payment to a host until a guest is safely checked in.

For more information about the rise of home-sharing in corporate travel, download the free 2017 Skift + Airbnb report: Demystifying Airbnb For Corporate Travel Managers.

This content was created collaboratively by Airbnb and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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