Global hospitality startup Airbnb has spent the last six years trying to get consumers comfortable with the idea of staying in someone else’s home when traveling. Now the company is trying to make headway in the enterprise, with a new portal specifically designed for business travelers, as well as a partnership with Concur that will make it easier for them to file expenses when booking on its peer-to-peer rental platform.
Over the years, a number of users have already taken to using Airbnb when traveling for business — especially when it means that they’ll be staying in a city for an extended period of time and want a space that feels more like home. Now the company will specifically cater to those users in an effort to capture a larger share of the overall business travel market.
With that in mind, Airbnb has created a new portal specifically designed to show lodgings that have the necessary amenities for business travelers. For instance, when business travelers search the platform, they will only be shown listings that comprise an entire home or apartment. Those listings will also all have WiFi and be available for instant booking, among other things, and will have to conform to a company’s expense policies to be booked.
In order to ensure that listings match a company’s expense policies, Airbnb is partnering with business travel and expense management company Concur. That partnership will enable Airbnb users to take advantage of Concur’s TripLink, which is a plugin for third-party sites that enables business travelers to book travel and have it automatically added to their expense reports.
The integration with TripLink, which will be completed this Fall, is expected to make it easier for employees at participating companies to quickly and easily do expenses for trips booked on Airbnb. It will also give travel managers visibility into where employees are staying, something that is necessary for them to keep track of.
Since Concur is used by 70 of the top Fortune 100 companies, there’s a huge opportunity for Airbnb to rack up more bookings from business travelers.
It’s also taking a proactive approach with several other companies to get them comfortable with using it for business travel. Staying at an Airbnb listing is nothing new for its own employees, as the company requires personnel to book stays on its platform whenever they travel for business. But the concept is a little more novel for most other companies.
That might not be true for long, as the company is partnering directly with a number of other startups and tech companies to get their employees to start booking business travel through its platform. It’s signed up more than 35 companies that it’s working with to shape new business travel policies that accept its listings, including names like Salesforce, Evernote, Eventbrite, and Lyft.
That’s good news for employees who will now have the option of choosing a place that feels more like home, as opposed to a stodgy boring old hotel. And it’s good news for Airbnb, which will now be able to offer an alternative to users, even if they’re traveling on their company’s dime.