Airbnb quietly starts a pilot for listings exclusively for business travellers
Airbnb has made no secret of its strategy to widen the pool of travellers connecting with its hosts to secure accommodation.
The big slice of the accommodation pie that Airbnb wants to gobble up next is those travelling for business reasons.
The first official sign that it would target corporate travellers came in April 2014, when it signed an agreement with business travel technology company Concur so that customers could book Airbnb properties directly via their existing tools, such as TripLink.
The idea was that expense reports would be pre-populated and duty of care requirements met – two important elements from both a traveller safety perspective as well as for visibility on spend and management data.
Earlier this year, Airbnb’s head of business travel, Marc McCabe, said there was a job to be done in making the process for corporate travellers better by making the tracking more automated, getting travellers to identify themselves and learning about their habits along the way.
Airbnb, he said, can then share information with companies on length of stay, dates and location so that travel managers can keep track of their travellers.
This data, or visibility on this data, is seen as the make or break for the site’s presence in the business travel segment.
Such moves are important, but what about how Airbnb is working behind the scenes to target corporate travellers in the first place?
There is a natural process, inevitably, as awareness of the so-called sharing economy increases and business travellers are granted permission from flexible employers to try the host-type experience, or just don’t have a stringent accommodation policy.
But until now the Airbnb website has not differentiated its properties based on type of traveller searching for a host.
That could be about to change.