The days of Airbnb being a place where home owners put up a spare room for a bit of extra cash are over. Airbnb now spans some 191 countries, hosts more than 2 million listings and has a user base in excess of 60 million people. Those statistics grow on a daily basis as property owners and travellers alike jump on the hype that is Airbnb. Things change fast when a company expands this quickly and, as a host, you must adapt and change with them. What this now means is making your Airbnb business travel ready.
As more and more hosts join the platform, it is becoming increasingly competitive. But whilst the number of hosts are growing, so too are the number of travellers, and they come in all shapes and sizes. One particular niche of rapidly emerging travellers are those using Airbnb for business accommodation.
According to a report by travel expense firm Certify, Airbnb use by business travellers grew a staggering 249% in 2015. Furthermore, Airbnb states 10% of all its bookings can now be attributed to business trips. This has undoubtedly been driven by the introduction of a suite of new features which facilitate smoother transactions for businesses. You can find out more about these below.
This is just the beginning…
On July 12th, Airbnb announced a partnership with 3 of the world’s biggest corporate travel agencies: American Express Global Business Travel, BCD and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
So you can expect the upward trend to continue with a growing momentum. If you don’t want to watch your bookings slide, you need to make your Airbnb business travel ready now.
What is Airbnb Business Travel Ready?
You’ve just heard a whole load about it, but what’s it all about? Well, that all depends on whether you are a traveller, travel manager or host.
As a traveller, you can search specifically for Airbnb hosts who have earned the business travel ready badge.
Furthermore, you can charge trips directly to your firm if they are signed up! Airbnb have also designed a whole new user interface and management platform for travel managers.
Getting the badge of approval is critical to securing more business bookings as Airbnb will give your listing more visibility. In order to get it, you must first supply a complete set of amenities:
You also need to satisfy the following conditions:
Top tips for making your Airbnb Business Travel Ready
Outside of Airbnb’s official requirements, there are also several other things you should do in order to attract more business bookings.
1) Safety & Security is the top priority! A recent survey by AMEX found that safety & security is now the number one concern for business travellers. You should make any safety features clear in your listing description e.g. alarms, gated community, safe neighbourhood, security fencing etc. If you do not have any of these features, consider making an investment.
2) Maintaining a healthy diet & exercise regime. A similar survey by The Global Business Travel Association found that this was also crucial. People don’t like to have their normal routine disrupted, so if you already have exercise equipment then make this clear. If you don’t, you could pick up a cheap treadmill or make guests aware of the nearest gym. Also make sure you have a well stocked kitchen.
3) Reduce the environmental impact of your Airbnb. The GBTA survey also found recycling facilities and the ability to take public transport or walk to meetings was a serious consideration for 58% of regular travellers. Therefore, you should look for ways to make your property more energy efficient, such as low wattage light bulbs or solar panels. Also make guests aware of local public transport facilities.
4) Offer amenities above and beyond what Airbnb require! This will help to set you aside from the competition. Some ideas include:
- charging stations with smart phone + iPhone cables.
- High speed WIFI.
- Wireless printer/scanner.
- High pressure shower & adequate shaving facilities.
- Shoe polish, clothes steamer, mini sewing kit.
- Good work desk, chair & lamps.
- White board.
- Coffee machine.
- For a fee, you could also include services such as airport transfers and laundry.
By converting your listing you will experience tons of other benefits!
Adding additional services or amenities may cost you in the short term, but it’s a worthwhile long term investment. The obvious benefit of converting your listing is that you will get more bookings as firms and business travellers can identify you property more easily. However, there are many other benefits you may not have even considered!
1) Fill your calendar. Business trips tend to run during the week, whilst most Airbnb listings take more bookings on weekends. Therefore, being Airbnb business travel ready can increase your occupancy rates.
2) Safety. I’m sure you have all seen the ‘Apartment gets trashed in massive Airbnb orgy’ articles floating around on social media. Whilst this is super unlikely to ever happen, business travellers tend to be a safer bet. This is because they are there to work and not to party, so it’s less likely you will get undesirable guests.
3) Get more repeat bookings. Business travellers will often return to the same location allowing you to build relationships. This increases the chances of repeat bookings.
4) You can charge a higher price! The value of bookings for business travellers is on average 3x higher than trips for leisure. This is because there are fewer budget constraints.
5) You will suffer less from seasonality. Business trips go ahead regardless of rain or shine! This will enable you to fill your calendar all year round.