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Doubling down on business travelers, Airbnb acquires Urbandoor

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Airbnb has today announced the acquisition of Urbandoor, a platform that offers extended stays to corporate clients. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Urbandoor was founded in 2015, according to Crunchbase. 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.

Urbandoor helps increase that inventory on the supply side. Urbandoor’s footprint includes apartment communities in more than 1,500 cities across more than 60 countries across the globe.

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.

Here’s what Urbandoor cofounder Erik Eccles had to say in a prepared statement:

We started Urbandoor because we wanted to connect traveling and relocating professionals with the right apartment every time, anywhere. Joining the Airbnb family will help us make good on our goals and expand our work with multifamily and corporate housing partners to bring even more great places to stay to Airbnb travelers.

As part of the deal, the entire Urbandoor team will move over to Airbnb. There are currently no plans to sunset the Urbandoor brand.

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