Managing Travel Expenses with Alternative Accommodations

Managing Travel Expenses with Alternative Accommodations

By David Holyoke, Head of Worldwide Sales and Global Head of Airbnb for Work, Airbnb

David Holyoke, Head of Worldwide Sales and Global Head of Airbnb for Work, Airbnb

As ride-sharing services and alternative accommodations move solidly into the mainstream for personal travel, employees increasingly expect access to the same options when they travel for work.

Many companies and employees have quickly adopted Ride-sharing for business travel, and the acceptance rate for sharing economy accommodation providers is accelerating, primarily driven by millennial travelers’ use, inside or outside of company travel policy.

"Access to a different experience in a destination, one that is more local and authentic, is moving up the list of what employees want most when traveling on company business."

On the company side, ride-sharing services are now allowed by half of all corporate travel policies, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s January 2017 Business Traveler Sentiment Index. Thirty percent of business travelers in the same survey said sharing economy accommodation providers such as Airbnb and HomeAway are allowed under their company travel policy—a 20 percent increase over survey results just six months earlier.

Executives might not be aware of all the benefits that can result from incorporating alternative accommodations into a travel program. So, how do you keep up with employee demand, keep travelers happy, and your company’s travel budget under control? Alternative accommodations provide:

1. Cost savings

We’ve seen companies save an average of 49 percent a night when their employees booked on Airbnb over traditional hotels.

2. Inventory options

Availability of inventory is another benefit of adopting sharing economy accommodation providers, both for travelers and budgets. These alternative accommodations offer additional inventory in cities with traditionally high hotel rates year-round, and when attendance at conferences and events in key urban markets squeezes hotel availability while simultaneously pumping up pricing.

3. On longer trips, all the comforts of home

Employees can choose more space, stay in a neighborhood that interests them, and choose a listing with a kitchen they’d love to cook dinner in or even a place that has washing machines so they can pack light.

Also for relocations—especially with families and pets—people want to stay someplace that feels like home, when everything else is unfamiliar. They want to test out the neighborhood and school district they're eventually going to move to.

4. Teaming up to travel

We’ve seen a growing trend of teams traveling together for group offsites/ onsites—for example, a company might send a team to Lake Tahoe to bond and work for a week.

5. Traveler satisfaction

As companies increasingly focus on keeping travelers happy as well as controlling or reducing costs, traveler satisfaction is driving adoption of sharing economy accommodations for work travel. Access to a different experience in a destination, one that is more local and authentic, is moving up the list of what employees want most when traveling on company business.

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