Business travelers are increasingly using home-sharing services like Airbnb for overnight business trips. Concur’s recent State of Business Travel report shows a 56% growth rate for home-sharing services among business travelers between the beginning of 2015 and beginning of 2016.
The Concur business travel reports shares insights from the millions of end-users that turn to Concur’s business travel and expense management solutions — users who expensed $76 billion in 2015 through the provider’s software.
The overnight accommodations category, such as hotels and home-sharing spaces, was the second-largest area of business travel spend for Concur users, totaling $14.1 billion in 2015. Those who used home-sharing services typically spent an average of five nights while those who stayed in a traditional hotel spent an average of three nights there, according to the Concur report.
According to Concur, the types of business travelers more likely to turn to sharing economy services such as Airbnb for a business trip are those who look for affordable yet fun experienced during business travel, or someone who requires business travel to be as comfortable as being at home.
What Does This Mean for Corporate Travel Policies?
While homesharing is proving to be popular for business travelers, those managing corporate travel policies have some concerns about the shift to less traditional overnight accommodations. Business seem to be grappling with assessing what risk, if any, having a business traveler use home-sharing services poses for the organization, said Robb Nielsen, vice president of global product experience at Concur.
Home-Sharing Popularity To Increase
Business travelers are expected to increasingly turn to home-sharing services for business trips. Concur also cited data from the Atmosphere Research Group in its report that shows 8% of U.S. business travelers used home-sharing accommodations at least once on a business trip in 2015. That number is expected to grow this year, however, reaching 10% as home-sharing services become more attractive to business travelers, according to Henry Harteveldt, founder and industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group,
Hotel prices have also been on the rise in recent years, perhaps pushing business travelers to look for more affordable options through home-sharing services. An IBISWorld report showed hotel room prices increased 3.8% between 2013 and 2016, and prices are set to grow at an annualized rate of 4.3% through 2018.
Airbnb has also taken steps to make booking corporate travel trips easier through its service, revamping and expanding its Business Travel program last summer. The travel program launched in 2014 and experience 700% growth in the first year. Airbnb’s travel program is now available for business travelers around the globe.
Other sharing economy services like Uber and Lyft are also becoming more popular among business travelers. A recent report by Certify said Uber accounted for 31% of all ground transportation among business travelers, while traditional taxi services accounted for 22%.
Price Not a Priority
Another interesting finding included in the Concur report regarding overnight accommodations was how price was not a top priority for the traveler. Travelers cited location as a top priority for overnight accommodations or hotel properties. Most important hotel amenities include free wifi and non-smoking rooms, the report stated. Nielsen said price of a hotel is often not among the top three considerations travelers make when booking business trips. More are concerned with flight time arrivals and the location of where they are staying for their night and if it is within close proximity of where their business meetings are taking place.