Airbnb Vs. hotel prices. The battle for corporate clients
Hotels have for a long time dominated the corporate travel market but the advent of shared accommodation in the name of Airbnb is completely rewriting the rules. At inception in 2008, the company mainly targeted leisure and tourism travellers but has slowly been establishing itself in corporate travel. Their unique business model has caught the eye of business travellers and bookings have been rising exponentially. The hotel model, having been around for decades if not centuries has well established systems and loyalty amongst many corporate bodies but the modern traveller is willing to take a chance for something more exciting. In 2014, after noticing a surge in corporate requests and bookings, Airbnb launched the business booking platform to nurture the emerging niche. By 2015, corporate bookings have risen to 250,000 and up to above One million in 2019 making it a major player in the business travel accommodation service. Some of their major clients include Google, Twitter, Gap and Dominos Pizza.
Airbnb is known to offer cheaper rates than hotels in most of the cities they operate. Corporates and individuals can make significant savings on bookings across the globe in cities where Airbnb is active while enjoying flexibility and choice. Corporate travellers can now benefit from the dedicated corporate dashboard to book pre-approved corporate range properties. Hotels are not taking the challenge hands down. The have gone out of their way to start providing clients with the feeling of home in some of their properties. In regards to rates, airbnb is in most cases 30% cheaper than a hotel room. Corporates with low travel budgets and those seeking to lower travel costs are taking the Airbnb option for their staff. The ability to choose from a wide variety of homes and prices has lured corporate clients away from the tried and tested hotels. Corporates are also saving on meals while also offering their staff a choice to take meals of their choice while still attending meetings in the day. This adds up to significant savings for the company besides giving the staff a unique experience.
In an effort to hold on to the shrinking market, hotels are now including in their marketing materials other benefits that Airbnb cannot guarantee. Take for example, proximity to conference centres and central business districts. Most hotels are located in the heart of cities near other amenities like conference centres and corporate offices. Airbnb specialises in renting out spare rooms in homes and many of those are available outside of major cities. A guest putting up outside of the main city will mostly have to use buses, trains or ride hailing apps to get to the meeting destination and that take time.
Security is paramount for every person. Corporate travel managers want to ensure their staffs are hosted in secure neighbourhoods in this increasingly insecure world. Hotels pride themselves as having well established security systems which are not available in many private homes. Airbnb has been trying to counter this by using artificial intelligence and user reviews.
A continuous tussle
Airbnb has set their sights on the corporate market and are investing heavily in securing this niche including partnering with chain hotels to offer Airbnb targeted products. Hotels on the other hand are retooling their business models to not lose out on the changing customer needs and market trends. This battle that is not ending soon and neither the hotels nor Airbnb is willing to lose. The ultimate winner is the traveller who can now enjoy a wider variety of choice in where and how to stay and lower prices.