Accommodations service Airbnb is making a stronger play for businesses.
The company announced it will expand to business travel, devoting a section of their site to professionals seeking places to stay while traveling.
Lex Bayer, head of business development and global payments at Airbnb, says accommodations will focus on homes and apartments that cater more toward business clientele, and focus on key features such as Wi-Fi and Internet access.
“It’s about making it easier to find accommodations that are appropriate for work trips,” says Bayer.
Airbnb will also partner with spending management firm Concur to tie together their Airbnb accounts with the company’s TripLink service, which helps companies manage travel expenses.
Airbnb says several companies are already partnering with them on the business travel initiative, including Salesforce, Evernote, Eventbrite and Lyft.
Bayer says he doesn’t expect the service to fit “road warriors” who are constantly on the go. “This is really about for leisurely business travelers,” he says. “More people are combining business trips with leisurely travel.”
Chip Conley, head of Airbnb’s global hospitality division, says many of their current business travelers have used their service to find accommodations for relocations or larger group meetings. “Nearly ten percent of Airbnb’s customers travel for business already and we’ve heard from customers that this type of offering is high on their wish list,” says Conley.
Launched in 2008, Airbnb allows users to book or list accommodations anywhere in the world. In April, the company reportedly secured a $450 million investment from private-equity firm TPG, which would value the company at $10 billion.
Airbnb’s entry into business travel follows a significant rebranding effort revealed two weeks ago, with the philosophy “Belong Anywhere.” The revamped website places a heavier emphasis on photos, and includes a Discover option for travelers seeking to explore different parts of the world.
“Business travelers, they wanna feel like they belong,” say Bayer on how the business travel expansion aligns with the company’s vision. “They wanna feel like a piece of that trip is familiar. It’s a place where they can stay and feel cozy.”
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
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