The latest trend for on-demand players, like Airbnb, is facilitating corporate use of their services. Airbnb has embraced that potential with the launch of its corporate travel services in 2015, and this year, American Express Global Business Travel partnered with the company to facilitate company use of Airbnb’s accommodation services.
But a new report from Travel Leaders Group said travel managers’ corporate clients aren’t biting the Airbnb bait as much as some may think.
The majority (55.4 percent) said their clients have never used alternative travel service suppliers, like Airbnb, for accommodations. And for the travel agents that said some of their clients have used these services, the rate of use isn’t much.
According to Travel Leaders Group, only 10.5 percent of travel managers surveyed said more than 10 percent of their own clients use alternative travel suppliers.
It’s a far cry from the use of alternative transportation suppliers, like Uber and Lyft, however, with more than half of travel managers saying more than 10 percent of their clients use these services.
“As some business travelers embrace alternatives to long-established suppliers, companies must review their travel policies and how they accommodate ‘duty of care’ going forward,” stated Travel Leaders Corporate Head and Chief Sales Officer Gabe Rizzi in the report.
Reports by Associations Now said reluctance to adopt Airbnb and other on-demand, alternative accommodations providers could be due to that duty-of-care factor, with insurance practices differing between traditional hotels and personal homes.
“If I was being a conservative employer worrying about liability, I wouldn’t be letting my employees use those sorts of services at this juncture,” said one employment lawyer in New Zealand, Blair Scotland, in an interview with Stuff, as highlighted by Associations Now.
Last year, data from T&E firm Certify found that, while corporate use of Airbnb while on business trips is uncommon compared to employees using traditional services, like hotels, for accommodations, the trend is rising. On average, the employees that do use Airbnb stay twice as long as they do at hotels; companies also spend twice as much on Airbnb bookings than they do on hotels, Certify added.