Is Your Airbnb Business-Travel Ready?
Don’t let our industry’s name fool you: not all travelers are looking for a “vacation” rental.
In 2017, in fact, 15% of Airbnb bookings were for business travel, and the platform is aiming for 30% business-ready bookings by 2020.
The uptick makes sense. At a rental, colleagues can stay all in one place with their own bedrooms, comfortable common areas to brainstorm, prep, or meet with clients, in-unit laundry, and full kitchens for when going out to eat gets tiresome.
Add to that Airbnb’s claims that booking rentals saves companies 49% over hotel stays, and you have the recipe for a booming source of rental income. Even better, business travelers make great guests: they’re less likely to haggle over rates, tend to be out and about for long stretches (less wear and tear!), and are more likely to book during the week, when properties often have gaps to fill.
Read on to see how three of the top rental booking platforms are making it easy for business travelers to find you… and what you should be doing to ensure you’re ready to welcome them.
How it Works
So far, Airbnb is outpacing its counterparts when it comes to business-ready listings, with a special designation—“Airbnb Work Collection”—that travelers can access with one click at the time of booking.
Formally known as “Business Ready,” the Airbnb business arm has been rebranded as the “Airbnb Work Collection” (in the vein of their “Airbnb Plus Collection” of higher-end properties).
Getting listed is low-touch: once you have checked the boxes for all work-friendly amenities and hit the requirements we list below, your property will automatically become part of the Work Collection.
To be included in the Airbnb business-travel ready Work Collection, your property must:
- Be a whole house, a private room with a private bath, or a private room with an ensuite bath.
- Have 5 or more reviews with a 4.8 overall rating (or higher) for the past year.
- Have a 90% response rate to booking requests within 24 hours for the past year.
- Offer a flexible or moderate cancellation policy.
- Allow for self check-in (a key lockbox, keypad, smartlock, or by getting the key or access from a door person or front desk attendant).
What You Need to Stock
- Essentials (toilet paper, soap, towels, bed linens, and pillows)
- Hair dryer
- Laptop-friendly workspace
- Carbon monoxide detector
- Smoke detector
How it Works
As of right now, the HomeAway brand (parent company of VRBO) does not have an official business-ready travel designation for properties that list with them.
Which means that, while you don’t have any hoops to jump through to get the platform to publicize your business-friendly property, you also are tasked with doing the legwork yourself.
Here are some tips to attract business travelers on VRBO/HomeAway:
Stock your property with all of the amenities listed above for the Airbnb business-travel ready requirements, and be sure to check them off on your listing’s amenities list. That way, you’re reaching those business travelers for whom free Wi-Fi and an ironing board are not just nice perks, but must-haves.
Try using the words “Business Friendly” or “Business Ready” in your VRBO/HomeAway headline and see if that changes your traveler profile. You can easily change it back if you’d rather not target business travelers so specifically.
- In your listing, mention the distance of your property to common corporate destinations, like conference centers and company headquarters.
How It Works
Booking.com is one of the world’s top listing sites/online travel agencies, though its presence in the US isn’t quite as robust as in Europe and other places—especially when it comes to short-term rentals.
Unlike Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO, Booking.com doesn’t charge guests any fees, but they make up the difference by taking 15% - 18% per booking from the accommodation provider. This, among other reasons, makes short-term rental providers hesitant to list on the platform.
That said, Booking.com is worth a look if you are looking to attract business travelers in particular. They offer attractive perks for business travel, like loyalty program discounts and a travel management portal for corporate-level business accounts.
Even if they’re not a part of the corporate “Booking for Business” program, business travelers can easily select “I’m traveling for work” on the main page and get customized, business-friendly results.
To get in front of business travelers on Booking.com, you can include your listing in the platform’s Genius Business program. Part of the umbrella Genius loyalty program, Genius Business offers discounts to those who book 5+ times on Booking.com and are confirmed business travelers.
To participate, you must offer a minimum 15% discount. There are no other requirements to fulfill.
You can turn Genius Business on and off at any time, so it’s low commitment. And you don’t have to be part of the umbrella Genius program in order to list with Genius Business.
To list your existing Booking.com account with Genius Business:
- Log into your Extranet dashboard on Booking.com.
- Click the Opportunities tab.
- Select Genius partner program, then Manage your audience.
- Under Your Genius business rate, select your discount of 15%.
Note that the Genius Business program isn’t available in all destinations, so if you don’t see a Genius Business option, that’s why!