Business travelers, wouldn’t it be great if you could break out of the hotel routine, even if it’s just for a couple days? Wouldn’t you enjoy eating in local restaurants and exploring the local scenery? What about saving as much as 20 – 30% over your normal hotel costs?
With its new, “Don’t go there. Live there.” campaign, Airbnb is trying to reach business travelers who are tired of hotels, or just want to experience more that a city has to offer.
With its push to garner a share of the business travel accommodations marketshare, Airbnb is actually returning to its roots. The company was started in August 2008 in San Francisco as a way to provide conference attendees alternative housing options that were considerably cheaper than the area’s hotels.
Since making a concerted effort to market its services to business travelers, business bookings have tripled since July 2015. Airbnb reports that 14,000 companies are signing up weekly, due to the company’s integration with major management systems, such as American Express Global Business Travel and BCD Travel. The company says the savings can be as much as 20 to 30 percent when compared to hotel accommodation costs.
“Airbnb’s properties are typically outside the normal area where hotels are located,” said Julian Persaud, Airbnb’s Regional Director of APAC “and offer a localized, immersive experience.”
Where Airbnb really stands to gain ground is in the new category termed “bleisure” travel. “Bleisure” travel is the tacking on of one or two days of leisure travel after the conclusion of a business trip. A report issued in 2014 by BridgeStreet Global Hospitality found that 60 percent of travelers currently take advantage of the opportunity to combine business with leisure.
What remains to be seen is how elite business travelers will respond. The average stay at an Airbnb property is six days, nearly double the average three-day trip, and unlike hotel chains, Airbnb stays don’t translate into reward points that can be used on other properties. The company is also navigating some sticky issues as some municipalities discuss how to regulate these short-term rentals.
Still, offering the business traveler the conveniences of a hotel combined with the comforts of home may prove a profitable strategy.
Have you ever stayed in an Airbnb property, or similar arrangement? What did you think? Will you do it again, or are you committed to hotels? Let us hear from you in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.