Meetings

Airbnb's Business Travel Fortunes Rise

By / Nov 9, 2016 (Airbnb press photo)

Business travelers are booking with Airbnb more often—and they’re spending even more on their rooms than usual.

That’s according to recent statistics from Concur. The business travel and expense management firm, which is one of a handful designed to take care of bookings of accommodations, found that the number of businesses using Airbnb grew by 32 percent year over year during the second quarter of 2016, while spending grew even more—by 42 percent.

The growth was driven by tech companies, whose employees were more likely to use sharing-economy platforms. While traditional types of lodging also saw growth, according to the report, major hotel chains grew at a slower rate than Airbnb did over the same period.

One point relevant to meeting planners is part of the reason why businesses use the service: It makes up for the lack of hotel rooms elsewhere during large events.

“The popularity of annual events such as Dreamforce or South by Southwest might result in hotel room saturation in the host city, forcing business travelers to book alternative accommodations such as Airbnb rentals,” the report states. “In peak times, the flexibility of alternative accommodations, in comparison to the rigidity of hotel supply, could be attractive to business travelers.”

Could Regulations Hurt Momentum?

While the report was positive overall for Airbnb, it comes at a time when regulatory developments could potentially dampen demands for the service in some parts of the country.

For example, New York state passed a law that would allow for fines of up to $7,500 for Airbnb hosts who don’t follow local regulations—which is particularly problematic for the company because New York City has a law banning residents from listing their homes on the service.

The company is fighting that law in court, but it’s not the only battle that the service currently faces. On Tuesday, Airbnb lost a bid in federal court to block a similar law from taking effect in the company’s home base of San Francisco.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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