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Review: Airbnb Business Is a Serious Must for Corporate Travel

Let’s not forget how useful having an actual kitchen really is.

Airbnb Business is a relatively new product the company launched last summer, hoping to appeal to some of that corporate travel that the company already serves. And so far, there’s a lot to like.

Business travelers are now able to book stays directly through Airbnb and send it to their corporate travel manager, who are also able to book for their employees. But the biggest upside is that companies can finally track and expense bookings, with nuanced, detailed cost data. Translation: Bosses are going to f*cking love it.

From an employee perspective, expensing and sharing details with corporate is going to get a lot easier (if the company is open to enrolling to the free program). Airbnb toes a great line between privacy and sharing on this one, too: if employees use their personal account to book a trip, managers can only see the itineraries if employees personally designate it as a business trip.

At least for the moment, Airbnb is currently offering a $50 credit to anybody who signs up their work email and books at least one business trip, so they’re coming out with the bats swinging.

So-called business-ready listings

Technically, employees can book and expense *any* Airbnb listing through Airbnb Business. That said, Airbnb has been out on the bench really promoting a new set of listings that qualify as “business travel ready.”

These are entire apartments and homes that don’t allow smoking or pets on the premises. It is particularly notable: Dealing with a present host or roommate is probably the one thing most business travelers don’t want to deal with, since it can often be a hassle.

These places also have specific amenities included, such as wireless internet, a laptop-friendly workspace, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, 24-hour check-in, hair dryer, shampoo, hangers and iron. (Shampoo but no conditioner?)

Host requirements are also slightly different. For instance, listings must have 5 starts for 60% of primary, cleanliness, and accuracy reviews and hosts are encouraged to be super responsive and responsible for following through. It doesn’t really affect travelers but it is a direct shot at hotels that see a lot of business traffic.

Employees get church and state division

So, it’s not a complete division of church and state in the purest sense since employees will use the same account for both personal and business bookings. But the difference is that Airbnb Business lets bosses only see the relevant trip data for expensing and whatnot.

Sending that over to accounting.

Sending that over to accounting.

There’s is some nice compromise here. Employees don’t really need to create a new account; in fact, all they need to do is link their work email to their personal account. This prevents employees from managing multiple accounts—which can be a pain in itself—while integrating the profile or references they already have. They will, though, need to ask their corporate manager to be added to the group, depending on the company’s settings.

Once that’s done, making a business reservation is pretty easy. Employees can make a reservation on their personal account like normal. Once the reservation is confirmed, users can go back to view their itinerary. Underneath the billing details, employees can then check the box for Business Travel if this qualifies.

The nice thing? It can also be done for previous trips, simplifying the matter for both employee and boss. Plus, there’s $50 in it for the employee.

It’s like numbers sex, for bosses

 

There’s four main sections for travel managers available, divided into Activity, Reporting, People and Settings.

The Activity tab is the big kahunas overview of where the crap everyone is going. Managers will be able to see active and upcoming trips, as well a brief snapshot, contrasted very beautifully on a big geographic map. On a nice big f*cking map. (This would be cool for stalking family members or friends! So many uses.)

Reporting is where travel managers can get down and dirty. In addition to seeing more nuanced details including the number of nights booked and total costs, the average daily rate per booking and across all reservations is on full display in this section.

The numbers can be sorted from different date ranges, including month-to-date, last month, year-to-date. last year and a custom date range. All of which is exportable to a sexy CSV format for all of those Excel-lovin’ needs. And I do have many of those.

The People tab is straightforward, and here, managers set each team members’ role. In addition, settings can be further tweaked so employees can access the corporate card (different groups can be assigned to different corporate cards). Whether employees need to be personally invited to the program or simply have an email on the company server to join is also up to the manager’s discretion.

The one thing Airbnb gets right?

There’s a ton of things Airbnb doesn’t always get right but this is one thing the company has gotten right so far. 





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