[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]Airbnb’s business travel portal Airbnb for Work (recently rebranded from Airbnb for Business) is seeing exponential growth. Between 2015 and 2016, reservations tripled – and, from 2016 to 2017, tripled again.
In the past year, the top ten Airbnb for Work destinations were: London, Paris, Los Angeles, New York, South Bay, CA (Silicon Valley), Toronto, San Francisco, Boston, Sydney and Washington DC.
Airbnb has also observed specific business travel “corridors” (where people are coming from and where they’re travelling to) beginning to emerge. Top Airbnb for Work travel corridors over the past year include trips between:
- New York to Los Angeles, and vice-versa
- Melbourne to Sydney, and vice-versa
- London to Paris
- San Francisco to Los Angeles
- New York to Boston
In total, almost 700,000 companies now use Airbnb for Work, up from 250,000 just over a year ago.
Employees from large enterprises (5,000+ employees) make up 40 per cent of Airbnb’s professional community. Those working for start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses (1-250 employees) represent another 40 per cent. People employed by mid-sized companies (251-5,000 employees) make up more than 20 per cent.
Here are four business travel trends Airbnb has observed…
- Bleisure – Airbnb continues to see people tack on weekend days to explore the cities they’re travelling to. More than 30 per cent of Airbnb for Work bookings in the past year include at least one weekend night.
- Shorter business trips – in 2017, the average trip on Airbnb was six nights or more; in 2018, the average stay with Airbnb for Work was about five days, and the fastest growing segment of trips is three nights or less. Business travellers are increasingly using Airbnb for shorter trips, which they may have booked hotels for in the past.
- Team travel – almost 60 per cent of Airbnb for Work trips in the last year had more than one guest. Of the 60 per cent of Airbnb for Work trips with more than one guest, nearly 40 per cent had three or more guests. Teams are travelling together to bond and collaborate.
- Extended stays – Airbnb is seeing extended stays and relocations being booked on Airbnb for many different reasons and lengths of time, ranging from long business trips or training sessions that require several weeks away, to on-site projects that can last several months to a year. In 2018, it saw stays of 14 days or longer triple.
Reacting to rising interest from companies, Airbnb has also taken steps to attract further business travellers in 2019 and beyond with the launch of three new initiatives: Experiences on Airbnb for team-building, Airbnb Homes for offsites and meetings, and new options for people relocating for work.
Experiences for groups include things like truffle hunting, pottery classes and fat biking. Activities available in more than 800 destinations around the world in a number of categories, including wellness, team-building and social impact.
Airbnb is also highlighting homes that are suitable for business gatherings “where teams can create and collaborate”. It says that these are properties where hosts indicate their unique spaces are suitable for events, and many have work-friendly amenities such as wifi and self check-in.
According to the Amex Global Business Travel report, rising demand for non-traditional meeting spaces is expected to continue to outpace growth in demand for other property types. In addition to houses, Airbnb lists almost 3,000 castles and 1,400 treehouses around the world.Using Airbnb for more long-term relocations is also proving popular as it helps people settle into the local community better than a sterile serviced apartment. Mark Daniels, director of global mobility for Guidewire, said: “A large portion of Guidewire’s global employees are field consultants whose job is to go onsite to install Guidewire software for client insurance companies.
“Implementations can take six to 18 months and are akin to temporary relocations. Airbnb is a critical piece of making that a sustainable and more enjoyable lifestyle. Staying in Airbnb accommodations has drastically improved the quality-of-life experience for our colleagues.”