Business Travelers Taking to Airbnb

Airbnb has seen an increase in business travel, according to recent data.
Airbnb has seen an increase in business travel, according to recent data.
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Airbnb might not strike you as the best bet for business travel. In the popular mind, the home-sharing and short-term rental service is the terrain of vacationers and weary travelers, looking for an experience more authentic (and perhaps less expensive) than a hotel, and more private than a hostel.

But recent data shows business travelers might be catching on, The Economist reports.

AirBNB, a short-term apartment and room-rental service, is an increasingly popular choice for business travelers. That's according to Concur, a company that makes software that tracks business-travel expenses. The money that road warriers spend with Airbnb has gone from "zero" two years ago to nearly $1m this quarter, according to Tim MacDonald, a Concur executive.

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MacDonald notes that figure only accounts for 1 percent of the business travel market, but shows quick gains to be sure.

Quick gains mirror the trajectory of Airbnb itself, which was tagged last month with a $10 billion valuation.

And that a more mature class of travelers has begun to take Airbnb seriously also reflects the company’s path. A fantastic Fast Company article in March explored how the hospitality-sharing brand is looking to emphasize the hospitality part over the sharing part. Airbnb has brought on Chip Conley, the founder of the boutique hotel line Joie de Vivre as its head of global hospitality; is rolling out new requirements (like smoke detectors) and amenities (like cleaning services) for hosts that use the service; and is indeed working with the hosts of those spaces to boost their appeal to business travelers.