There’s no denying that Airbnb has created a big revolution in the travel industry since it started operating. When on vacation, many travelers are beginning to prefer living the local experience, booking private rooms or entire homes through this portal.
This trusted online community marketplace, founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, helps people offer, discover and book accommodations every day, all around the world, either from a PC, tablet or mobile phone. Airbnb has all kinds of properties, from castles, to villas, houses or apartments in more than 191 countries and 34,000 cities, and it connects people so they can have unforgettable travel experiences.
Airbnb vs. the Hotel Industry
There are varied opinions about whether or not Airbnb is going to have a major effect on hotel bookings. Bob Bryan, a markets reporter from Business Insider, suggests that Airbnb is not a threat to the hotel industry yet, but it may become one in the near future. Bryan states that according to analysts from Deutsche Bank, Airbnb, rather than reducing the share of other accommodation options, is “increasing the pie.” They liken the situation to low-cost airlines; in other words, low-cost airlines expanded the travel market, making it easier for those who may not have otherwise been able to travel (or at least travel frequently). The same holds true, the analysts argue, for Airbnb. Analysts have also noticed that hotel revenue per available room has stayed relatively the same, while the supply of rooms from Airbnb has increased significantly.
On the other end of the spectrum, however, there are studies that show that Airbnb is reducing hotels’ clients and also that it is increasing prices for low-term rentals, causing a lack of affordable housing.
Despite these critiques, the Airbnb user base continues to grow day to day. At the beginning of 2012, the site was used by one million people, and by the end of that year, the users had risen up to 4 million. There are many factors that have ensured this success, such as the security and reliability it provides to its users. The possibility to view others’ reviews before choosing a place, and also being rated as a guest, creates confidence within the portal, allowing users to book with less limitations and fears.
Airbnb for Business Travel
As Airbnb has grown, it has made efforts to adapt to the travel industry, and more business travelers have become interested in using it. Some employees prefer staying in a local home, to be able to get a taste of the city they travel to, even if they only stay for one night. According to the company’s site, currently, 50,000 companies have used Airbnb to make a booking for business purposes, and 10% of all trips reserved through their platform come from business travel.
Airbnb’s 3rd-Party Booking Feature
Aware of the growth of corporate users and in order to be able to respond to the accommodation needs of different types of travelers, Airbnb recently released a new feature that allows third-party booking. To simplify business travel, employees can now book rooms for their co-workers. This permits that both the travel manager and the person taking the trip can message the host with all their questions, see the trip details, and make changes to the reservation.
Other characteristics of this service include the possibility to charge the fees of the trip directly to the company, the chance to stay at a “Business Travel Ready listing” (properties with upgraded services and amenities for business travelers), and the option to receive coupons for your bookings.
Additional features Airbnb has created that encourage corporate travel through this portal are collaborative wish lists and multi-party reviews. Wish lists allow multiple people to add and edit properties they like in a common list. This could help travel managers and business travelers coordinate. Multi-party reviews let the host review each of the guests they accommodate, and also guests can rate each of their hosts. This feature can be useful for business and regular travelers to start creating a reputation for themselves, becoming more reliable within the network.
Airbnb Drawbacks for Business Travelers
But there are also some aspects that Airbnb still needs to flesh out. There have been many issues with crazy parties, drunk hosts crashing their guests’ vacations and even guests who won’t leave. Many of these stories have created controversy regarding whether one should trust the company to respond in these cases. For busy business travelers, dealing with loud parties or interruptions from hosts could cause them to lose focus or sleep before an important meeting. At the same time, we’ve all experienced loud neighbors in a hotel!
To increase the happiness of corporate clients, Airbnb has developed many new upgrades to the initial booking service, which demonstrate that the company is client-oriented and that the company is constantly seeking ways to make trips easier and better. These features we’ve discussed make the company a great option not only for business travel, but for all your trips. Just don’t forget to check the reviews before booking!