Airbnb has announced the acquisition of Urbandoor, a marketplace for furnished and serviced apartments.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but according to a statement, Urbandoor’s employees will join Airbnb.
Founded in 2015, Urbandoor helps business travelers with extended-stay accommodation, relocations and other long-term stays.
The statement goes on to say that Urbandoor features “apartment communities” in more than 1,500 cities in more than 60 countries.
For Airbnb, the acquisition will strengthen Airbnb for Work’s proposition for the corporate travel community.
One of the big differentiators between Urbandoor and Airbnb was not only its focus on business travelers, relocation, etc., but also that Urbandoor negotiated directly with multifamily owners rather than renters.
In other words, Urbandoor went directly to big real estate companies such as Greystar and convinced building owners, not renters, that extended stay rentals are a beneficial proposition. In fact, Greystar invested in Urbandoor, though the company’s complete financing history is unclear.
With this acquisition, Airbnb’s goals are two-fold.
The first is to increase supply on the Airbnb for Work side of the business, which continues to grow at a rapid clip. Originally launched as Airbnb for Business, the corporate side of Airbnb accounts for 15 percent of all bookings on the platform, and has grown 3x from 2015 to 2016, and again from 2016 to 2017. According to the company, 500,000 companies use the service to plan their business travel.
Though there seems to be plenty of demand for Airbnb properties from corporate clients, supply remains an issue. Corporate clients aren’t looking for the average Airbnb, but rather something with more amenities, such as a doorman or gym. This holds especially true for extended stays.
The second goal for Airbnb goes slightly deeper. While renters across the world have made a little extra income from the platform, the $35 billion behemoth still faces challenges when it comes to working alongside building owners.
Urbandoor has already built relationships with those multifamily owners for the purposes of extended stays. With the acquisition, Airbnb may be able to convince these same parties to start thinking about the value proposition of setting aside units for short-term stays, as well, which would allow Airbnb to bypass renters in some scenarios.
Greg Greeley, president of Homes at Airbnb, says: “Airbnb is partnering with property owners, developers, and residents to support hosting around the world.
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