Airbnb for Business Travel: Can Sports Tourism Options be Far Behind?
29 Jul, 2015By: Mary Helen Sprecher
It was only a matter of time before Airbnb brought out a product to address the business travel market.
The next question, of course, is how long until it debuts a function for sports tourism?
It probably won’t take too long. According to USA Today, Airbnb launched its first travel product in 2014 and recently, launched a dedicated platform for booking business travel. The platform includes a coupon system so companies can sign up and then provide coupons to employees that transfers the actual cost of booking onto the company account. This eliminates the need for reimbursements while mimicking traditional travel accounts familiar to corporate travelers.
Show of hands: Who really enjoys doing expense reports?
But we digress. The short-term rental company is now reportedly going further to ensure business-ready listings by reaching out to hosts with information on how to become “business ready.” Such information includes specific listing designations, such as: whole home rental, 24 hour access to keys, Wi-Fi, no pets or smoking, and necessities such as hangers, iron, ironing board, coffee, tea and a hairdryer — basically, any amenity that one would expect in a hotel that caters to business travelers.
It doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch for Airbnb to allow users to find out which properties would have access to those amenities favored by sports travelers, such as being near a venue, having adequate and secure storage for all the gear that some athletes carry – perhaps even hot tubs for post-event wind-downs.
In order to be registered on Airbnb’s business listing, hosts currently need to meet stringent criteria for responsiveness, such as a 90% response rate and at least 60% 5-star reviews. These standards might actually be a bit too low, as the company requires SuperHosts to receive 5-star reviews 80% of the time.
So how long can it be until this type of service is ready for sports travelers? In a way, it already is. Those who are traveling on their own, such as to a marathon or triathlon, would probably find Airbnb an attractive alternative. For now, though, we’ll just have to wait and see as the first iteration of the business product is still in beta (although travel sites notes that one way to get around that is for business travelers to start at the business portal.)