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British businesses leading the way with Airbnb bookings

New figures have revealed the UK is embracing the sharing economy, with Airbnb bookings made by SMEs outstripping those of neighbouring nations.
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Expenses management software business Concur compared 50,000 Q3 2014 expenses transactions with the same in Q2 2016 and found a growing trend of companies engaging with alternative business travel accommodation.

In total, nearly $10m was spent in the last eight quarters on Airbnb bookings in the UK, France and German by businesses. However, British companies spent the most in that time, over two thirds of total Airbnb bookings spend in the last two years.

Chris Baker, managing director of UK Enterprise at Concur, said: “The way people book and the places they stay when travelling has changed dramatically over the last five years, thanks to the emergence of sharing economy accommodation sites like Airbnb. While the platform’s popularity has long been known in the leisure sector, these trends are now blurring into business based travel.”

London was found to be the most popular city where businesses based in the three countries book accommodation for employees, followed by Paris, Cannes, Berlin and Munich.

Airbnb, which was founded in 2008 by two friends and is reportedly worth $30bn, launched its Business Travel offering in 2014 – a dashboard aimed at providing “deeper insight” into how business travellers use Airbnb.

Then, in 2015, it followed that up by unveiling a new product designed to make Airbnb bookings easier to make for companies. This was done by specifying business traveller-friendly listings, as well as providing travel itineraries, financial reporting data and central billing.

“With employees around the globe, Airbnb Business Travel helps us better support our team when they are on the road,” said Kelly Cammer, travel manager for Twilio, at the time. “Not only are we able to get better insight into how and when our employees are using Airbnb, but travellers are able to choose a place that feels like home at a price that fits our travel budgets.”

Concur’s research also showed that, although volume of Airbnb bookings in France and Germany was significantly lower than in the UK, year-on-year growth in spend across the board grew steadily across the research period. France grew by 74 per cent in the most recent period, followed by the UK (61 per cent) and Germany (32 per cent).

Baker continued: “Businesses are not necessarily moving away from booking hotel rooms for their employees, but what they are realising is there is an appetite – particularly from younger staff members to stay in less traditional accommodation, that may be in a more desirable area and offer home comforts, that large hotels cannot.

“The ease of booking and the favourable rates offered on Airbnb are also likely drivers for this trend and can save businesses money in the long run.”

Real Business contacted Airbnb to obtain some additional growth statistics, which can be found below.

Up to date UK stats:

  • Total listings in the UK: 130,000
  • Year-on-year growth in inbound guests: 93 per cent
  • Year-on-year growth in outbound guest arrivals: 95%

Global business travel stats/info:

  • Nearly ten per cent of Airbnb customers travel for business
  • Over 150,000 companies completed a booking through the Airbnb for Business Product Suite
  • In 2016, Airbnb tripled in growth and nearly 14,000 new companies sign up for Airbnb for Business every week

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About Author

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

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