Airbnb has been slowly infiltrating the corporate expense report as business travelers take to the on-demand home- and room-sharing service. In the process, the company has embraced the business traveler, launching the Business Travel program last year to facilitate corporate travel booking and enable managers to have better control and oversight of employee trips via Airbnb.
On Tuesday (July 12), the company announced its latest step in the corporate travel space and perhaps its biggest to date.
Airbnb struck a partnership with American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) in what the firms said is a first-of-its-kind collaboration. The deal will see Amex GBT referring its clients to Airbnb services, as well as facilitating the integration of data between the two to streamline traveler tracking and other information into the GBT reporting platform.
Corporate travelers can book accommodations on the Airbnb site using a corporate email address after being referred by Amex. In the coming weeks, the integration of information will enable travelers to automate the recording of travel plans for travel managers to access.
Their integration also allows Airbnb bookings to be viewed on corporate itineraries and mobile platforms, the firms added.
"Business travelers want the freedom to choose accommodations that align with their personal and professional tastes," said Amex GBT Vice President of Global Supplier Relations Wes Bergstrom in a statement. "At the same time, traveler safety and security are a top priority for companies. As the first travel management company to partner with Airbnb, our customers can further evolve their travel policies and offer their travelers the ability to book preferred accommodations."
The firms explained that their partnership will first launch in the U.S. over the next few weeks; later this year, the companies plan to expand their collaboration in new markets across the globe. They also plan to introduce new elements of their partnership and to tighten their integration in the corporate travel booking process, reports said.