July 18, 2024

 

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Image: Airbnb

 

Travel News Update – GBTA Denver Meeting

Airbnb for Business

I had the opportunity to speak one on one with a San Francisco representative of Airbnb while attending the GBTA 2016 meeting in Denver.  I was amazed to hear how the company has grown and in what new directions they are moving.

Airbnb now boasts over 2 million listings for traveler accommodations.  They have already booked over 100 million stays in their locations which now cover almost every country of the world. Four years ago they employed 30 computer engineers and a total staff of around 200. Today their computer based business model requires between 450 and 500 computer engineers to keep the system running smoothly. They have a total staff of over 2500.

All this growth has put great demands on the company to provide quick, efficient, secure services to travelers and stay providers as well.  Just imagine the logistical and technical challenges of securely handling the scheduling, payment and reimbursement aspects (including all the different currencies involved) of a world wide operation of this scale.  They have over 40 computer engineers constantly working on just the financial aspects of the operation.

With increasing acceptance of the Airbnb model, the company is moving more and more into providing services for the business traveler.  Already they report roughly 50,000 companies have booked business with them. Airbnb finds that their more local, community based listings provide the business traveler an opportunity to break away from the cookie cutter, rather isolating hotel stay.  Their customer feedback indicates they enjoy the variety of accommodations available with Airbnb as well as the chance to get a flavor of the community in which they are staying. Airbnb feels they offer the business traveler the opportunity to “travel for work, feel at home.”

Airbnb is starting to move more strongly into the business sector. In order to be effective they will need to address some of the special needs of companies who send their employees out to travel the world.  A primary concern in this area is quality of accommodations. Airbnb lists all types of accommodations for travelers from the most basic to the very elaborate. Some are rather “quirky” and some are extravagant.  The challenge for Airbnb is to help potential company clients identify  listings which provide services and features which meet the standards required for their company’s business travelers. To make it easier for companies to identify and ensure acceptable accommodations  Airbnb now has a listing category named “Business Travel Ready.” To qualify for this designation an accommodation listing must provide specified services and meet specified standards. This approach is already working with more listings qualifying for the Business Travel Ready classification and more companies using Airbnb services.

 

Airbnb for Business …………… And Enjoy The Adventure!

 

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