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Hotel Costs Driving Airbnb’s Corporate Popularity

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Of the categories of on-demand services, homesharing firms, like Airbnb, are far from the most popular when it comes to business travel. But the latest data from Concur says use of Airbnb by professionals while on business trips is slowly but surely creeping up.

The most recent data from the T&E firm, released last week, finds that the number of businesses that saw an expensed item from an Airbnb lodging spiked by 32 percent between the second quarter of 2015 and the second quarter of 2016. The value of spend at Airbnb by corporations increased by 42 percent during that period.

Over the two years between the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2016, Concur found that companies spent $77 million on Airbnb, booking 320,000 reservations through the service.

That doesn’t mean that Airbnb is the top choice for travel accommodation by every business, however.

Concur found that technology and academia companies are more often booking Airbnb reservations, with eight of the top 20 corporate spenders on Airbnb being technology firms and six being universities, according to reports. Researchers hypothesized that tech companies are generally early adapters of new services, including sharing economy offerings, and universities are seeking cost efficiency when they book their accommodations.

SMEs are also more likely than larger corporates to pursue an Airbnb reservation, perhaps because they need more flexible lodging solutions, Concur concluded. SMEs increased their Airbnb spend by 38 percent between Q2 2015 and Q2 2016, with average booking value hitting $2,808.

According to Concur EVP of Global Products Tim MacDonald, conferences and corporate events are top drivers for businesses to explore alternative lodging offerings. Airbnb popularity in San Francisco and London have been among the fastest climbers, researchers found, likely because hotel rates there have similarly seen steady increases in recent years.

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