Airbnb, the home-sharing company that operates in more than 34,000 cities in 190 countries worldwide, is making a push to attract more business customers.
On Thursday, at the Airbnb Open conference in Paris, the company introduced its new "Business Travel Ready" feature. Moving forward, when a guest or company logs into Airbnb's website or mobile app, they will be able to pinpoint the best listings for working travelers.
To qualify as "business travel ready," the host needs to have amenities such as WiFi, a designated office or workspace, and a 24-hour check in policy. Airbnb also introduced other new tools like "Smart Pricing," which aggregates booking trends in a given area and automatically adjusts price skews for the hosts. Another is a resource center, called "Host Toolkits," where experienced users can give tips to new hosts.
Business travel has been a top priority for Airbnb, accounting for 10 percent of total bookings. (By the end of this year, global spending in the sector is predicted to reach $302.7 billion, according to research from the Global Business Travel Association.) Still, 10 percent isn't a terribly significant portion of Airbnb's total business. Most business travelers are still slow to adopt the service.
Earlier this year in July, Airbnb revamped its travel management suite for businesses, which first launched in 2014. With major clients like Google and Salesforce, the feature targets companies that lack robust travel management software, as it provides them with central billing and a dashboard to track their employees' spending.
In just the first quarter of 2015, users of the business travel service grew by 143 percent, according to a recent report from the expense management firm Centrify. Since the revamp, Airbnb has worked with 1,000 new clients, including Box and SoundCloud.