Airbnb business growing quickly among corporate travellers
While Airbnb usage is growing across all segments and industries, momentum is strongest among small and midsized businesses and in the tech and higher-ed segments Concur today released an in-depth analysis based on a subset of Concur customer data representing $77 million in Airbnb spend and more than 320,000 Airbnb expenses over eight quarters. The findings showed which industries and segments are driving Airbnb usage in business travel. Airbnb usage also showed strong growth over time, including the number of business travelers expensing Airbnb accommodations, which grew 44 percent year-over-year in Q2 2016.
“Concur travel and expense data shows us that while Airbnb usage is growing across all segments and industries, momentum is strongest among small and midsized businesses and in the tech and higher-ed segments,” said Tim MacDonald, executive vice president of Global Products at Concur. “While hotel spend still accounts for the majority of business lodging spend, there’s an increase in business travelers exploring alternative lodging, especially during major conferences and events.”
Concur found the number of organizations using Airbnb increased by 32 percent and overall spend increased by 42 percent year-over-year, from Q2 2015 to Q2 2016. The average Airbnb expense was $242, but average cost varied among major U.S. cities.
A deeper analysis revealed:
- Small and midsized businesses are among the fastest adopters. Small and midsized businesses (up to 1,000 employees) increased spending on Airbnb 38 percent in Q2 2016 compared to Q2 2015. On average, small and midsized companies spent $2,800 on Airbnb stays in Q2 2016, while a small number of organizations spent more than $20,000 in the same quarter.
- Hotel usage and spend are still on the rise. Use of major hotel chains grew year-over-year, but at a substantially lower rate than Airbnb. In Q2 2016, total business travel spend on major hotels was more than 250 times greater than business spend on Airbnb.
- Technology companies aren’t the only ones using Airbnb. As Airbnb adoption grows, the user base is diversifying. The academic sector is now a major driver of business travel spend on Airbnb stays. In Q2 2016, six of the top 20 Airbnb spenders were universities while eight of the top 20 spenders on Airbnb were technology companies.
- Business travelers may be blending work and exploration. From Q3 2014 through Q2 2016, more money was spent on Airbnb stays in San Francisco than in any other city. Meanwhile, London held steady at number two in the two-year timeframe, followed by New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Austin, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Sydney, illustrating a growing shift in how employees approach business travel. Business travelers might see Airbnb as a cost-effective opportunity to explore a city’s scenic neighborhoods that are beyond walking distance from major hotels.
- Major conferences are a driver. Looking at daily volume of Airbnb expenses, bookings increase dramatically in San Francisco during Salesforce.com’s annual Dreamforce conference held in October. In fact, Airbnb usage was six times higher than average during the 2015 Dreamforce conference. Austin is ranked number three in Airbnb spend globally during Q1 of 2015 and 2016, which corresponds with South by Southwest. However, it ranks significantly lower for every other quarter in the two-year window.