Airbnb is most familiar as a way to find cheap housing for vacations. You go stay in a house or apartment and you get to see the “real side” of a city or town, as you get to know your hosts and they give you the inside scoop. But people are increasingly using it for business purposes too, like having a whole team stay at the same place on trips.
People using Airbnb for business trips has also resulted in the unfortunate portmanteau “bleisure,” which refers to extending business trips so they can check out the city they’ve been visiting.
Bleisure is becoming a trend in the travel industry. According to the 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index, 67 percent of travelers believe it’s important to be able to extend business trips for leisure activities.
Millennials seem particularly inclined to participate in bleisure trips and to stay at Airbnb accommodations rather than hotels, which can save employers money due to less expensive accommodations and unconventional work schedules that allow them to travel outside of peak days.
Business accommodations also represent a return to the roots for Airbnb, which was started in order to help people find cheaper accommodations during business conferences and other similar events.
Airbnb is working closely with other, more business travel-oriented groups in order to make the most of these new trends. It is also reporting a record number of businesses registering with its service in order to use Airbnb accommodations for trips.
With any new trend in travel, the people who host guests through Airbnb catch on, so you can probably expect to see more hosts offering supplementary services—for a price.
Savvy hosts in areas that hold a lot of conventions and other similar events are going to start offering their services as concierges and tour guides, or at least point business travelers in the direction of little-known restaurants and other off-the-beaten-path venues, which they might not find out about on a more traditional trip.