From staying in unforgettable bungalows in Bali to living it up in penthouse apartments with infinity pools overlooking city skylines, I've had some great experiences staying in Airbnbs around the world. I've used the service for enriching my own personal travel, along with making myself feel more at home when I'm away on business.

I love staying in an Airbnb instead of a hotel because I have more options to choose from, which gives me a lot of flexibility to meet my changing needs and constant desire to try new things. I can stay in a convenient little loft in TriBeCa near all my meetings, or I can rent a mansion by the beach in one of a hundred countries for our next company retreat, which I have done and will do many more times.

If I'm missing my own cooking and getting sick of constantly eating out while traveling, I can find an Airbnb with a great kitchen that's also near a local market where I can buy fresh ingredients to cook with.

What makes these options amazing is that each of them might cost less (sometimes half as much, or more) than a business hotel room or serviced apartment.

I've been using Airbnb to travel for at least five years now, but I was really excited when I heard about their new program geared at business travelers, and I decided to try it out.

The Airbnb for Business dashboard provides a suite of tools for travel managers to help employees book and stay with Airbnb. The program also features business travel-ready listings, with specific amenities that cater to business travelers including 24-hour check in, a designated work space, a curated list of hosts with 5-star reviews, and more.

Here is an example of one of the Airbnb for Busines Travel options available:

I decided to stay in a business-ready listing for a recent trip to Manhattan and did the booking myself, but Airbnb has since added new features to the program that will make the booking process even easier for business travelers. In June, Airbnb also introduced a new tool is called "Third Party Bookings," which allows coworkers to manage bookings on behalf of others--so in the future, I can have my executive assistant arrange a stay for me.

Before I arrived at my business Airbnb, I was greeted with multiple texts from my host asking what my favorite snacks and foods were, and whether I needed anything to make my stay easier. My wonderful host went above and beyond, leaving me with a stocked fridge full of fresh fruits, water, wine, and my favorite--artisan goat cheeses.

She even had a binder with a list of her favorite restaurants, cafes, and cool local shops to check out, along with maps and other useful information.

Here are a few reasons you should consider getting an Airbnb the next time you're traveling on business:

1. Live like a local

One of the things I've always loved about Airbnb is the fact that you can stay in the part of a city that might not otherwise have a hotel. While most financial districts have hotels, that's rarely the most interesting part of town.

If it's a business trip, you probably want to pick a location that's most convenient for your meetings, but if you're working on the road a lot, you might prefer something that feels more like the area you normally live in.

I've also had friends who have used Airbnb as temporary corporate housing to try out living in new neighborhoods before deciding what part of town they actually want to live in long-term.

2. Choose your travel style

Are you someone that's social and adventurous, who likes to meet new people when you travel, or do you need your own space to retreat to after a long day of hard work?

Depending on your personality, preference, and price sensitivity, you can decide whether you want to look at Airbnb's business travel-ready listings, which are typically entire homes or apartments, or save money and be more social by staying in a shared listing.

Sometimes I get a private room in a shared Airbnb, especially if the host seems cool. It's cheaper and creates an opportunity to meet interesting locals, many of whom end up being entrepreneurs or successful professionals.

Not only has this helped me make some new lasting friendships (read: people I can now stay with for free!), but it has even led to me closing business deals too.

Other times, I'm traveling with colleagues or just want to be alone, and so I'll rent a business travel listing and keep the whole place to myself.

3. Get all your favorite (and unusual) amenities

I love Airbnb's amenity filters--they're better than most hotel sites.

On top of the usual options, like smoking/no smoking, air conditioning, gym, pool, and wifi, you can also filter for "laptop-friendly workspaces," "suitable for events," "indoor fireplace," and more.

Airbnb hosts often go above and beyond the promised options and provide you with additional perks, such as Netflix accounts, high-tech kitchen appliances, and yes, even artisan goat cheese. The Airbnb I stayed in on my recent trip to Hawaii even had snorkeling gear and boogie boards to use.

Do you have any Airbnb business travel tips of your own? I'd love to hear about them.

If you're a business owner or travel manager and curious about how to get your company involved, you can also learn more about the Airbnb for Business program here.

Published on: Aug 24, 2016
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