Many travelers book with Airbnb to save on lodging for personal and leisure trips. But you might not know it’s equally convenient to use Airbnb for Work, which is a business dashboard that encourages stronger company culture through team building, local experiences, and increased collaboration when traveling – all while saving ~50% on expenses.
These days, ~700,000 businesses use Airbnb for Work to book spaces that specifically support team travel. In this guide, we’ll show you how find them, how the program works, and why it might be a fit for your company’s travel style.
And while Airbnb doesn’t have a loyalty program (yet!), you can earn miles, points, or cash back by paying with the best small business credit cards.
Overview: What’s Airbnb for Work?
Airbnb for Work is a dashboard designed for small business travel. It’s a simple but powerful interface that addresses pain points of booking traditional lodging for teams.
When you sign-up as a business, you’ll have access to travel reports, invoices, expense reports, and can even set limits on how much an employee can spend per night – right down to custom limits for specific cities. So you can set the maximum at, say, $75 a night in Kansas City, and $150 a night for somewhere typically more expensive, like New York or San Francisco.
So while ease-of-use is a big factor, other advantages are saving money and promoting team collaboration, which are huge wins.
You’ll save money by not having to pay for multiple rooms like you would with traditional hotels. Instead, you can book a big place with several rooms for one set nightly price – which on average is 50% cheaper! Most places come with a kitchen, work spaces, and a living room, so you’ll also save on eating out and paying for multiple Wi-Fi passes.
Plus, everyone will have their own room to work and sleep, and be more available for team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and social gatherings. That leads to more comfort, and ultimately, increased employee happiness – which is a remarkable benefit.
Many Fortune 500 companies, like Dominos, Hyundai, and PayPal, use Airbnb for Work for team lodging. Airbnb locations are in ~200 countries around the world.
And it doesn’t always have to be for work! You can rent a cottage, cabin, or castle (!) for a team retreat, or just to get away for a while.
Advantages of Airbnb for Work
1. You Can Save Nearly 50% Compared to Hotels
In addition to making it easier to book team travel, you can also save a lot of money. Airbnbs for teams are 49% cheaper on average for travel within the US. And depending where you need to go, you can save over 50% on lodging, especially internationally.
Which makes sense, because booking multiple hotel rooms can get expensive quickly. If you can book one place with extra bedrooms, you’re only paying one total cost per night.
2. Airbnb Encourages Team Building and Collaboration
The other advantage to Airbnb for Work is the opportunity to have your team in the same place, but with enough privacy so everyone feels like they have their own space.
When you can hang out in the living room, instead of a hotel lobby, your team can bond faster with fewer distractions. And having a full kitchen to cook meals encourages folks to spend more time in shared spaces. That’s also helpful for meetings or brainstorming sessions – or even a company retreat. All of these promote team building and collaboration, which leads to overall employee happiness.
Plus, you can book Airbnb Experiences to arrange activities off-site, like sailing, pastry-making classes, a canoe trip, and much more, to bring your team together even more.
3. Airbnb for Work Offers a Travel Management Corporate Dashboard
Airbnb knows business travelers need easy ways to book and pay for their stays, keep track of employee spending, and generate invoices. The Airbnb for Work dashboard accomplishes this.
The Corporate Dashboard allows you to easily reserve stays for your team, so there’s no need for your employees to book their own reservation. You’re also able to directly reimburse your employees for their paid stays, and pay any outstanding invoices related to the stay.
We’ll talk about the dashboard more in just a bit!
4. Airbnb for Work Is Great for Long-Term Projects or Employee Relocation
Instead of bland corporate housing, you could consider a long-term stay for big projects or to facilitate employee relocation. It doesn’t have to be for just short stays. In fact, you can usually save even more for a longer booking!
Airbnb offers travelers certain amenities that most hotels simply do not. You’ll have an entire house/apartment to yourself, which goes a long way toward preventing the development of claustrophobia. And a full kitchen at your disposal is a welcome convenience for folks who don’t want to eat at a restaurant every single day.
5. Airbnb for Work’s Standards & Host Expectations
Airbnb requires hosts to meet certain standards before their listing will appear as work-ready. To satisfy Airbnb’s requirements, hosts have to ensure their home has:
Guaranteed constant Wi-Fi
Laptop-friendly work spaces
Travel essentials like basic toiletries, iron, hair dryer, and hangers
Self check-in with a keypad code or lock box
Flexible and/or free cancellations
In addition to the requirements above, each work-friendly listing must have at least an average 4.8 rating (out of 5), and at least 5 reviews.
Metrics are updated constantly. So if a listing fails to meet expectations and falls below standards, it will no longer appear in business travel searches. This means hosts have big incentives to keep their listings up-to-date, clean, and fully stocked for every traveler.
How to Use Airbnb for Work
To get started, navigate to the Airbnb for Work website and click “Sign Up.” You’ll have to use a work email, or an email separate from your personal Airbnb account.
You’ll get a verification email with a link to click to confirm it’s the correct email address.
Afterward, you can access and set-up your dashboard.
Here, you can:
Invite employees to book stays through your company’s portal
Add a company credit card
Track team spending
You can also add employees to groups, and designate other admins to approve company travel, if you have a lot of employees.You can also opt to receive alerts if a stay exceeds a nightly rate. And set limits for any specific city. For example, you can choose a base nightly rate for any amount. And can add higher (or lower) thresholds for certain places. Like $150 per night in New York, or $120 in Chicago, for example.
This is a useful feature for giving employees more wiggle room in expensive markets. Or making sure they don’t spend too much in cheaper locations.
After you’ve set up your dashboard, you can invite your team members to join. From there, they can start booking their trips any time they log-in with their company email address.
Trips will show up automatically in the “Reporting” section of your dashboard. And you can see who booked the trip, where they went, dates of the stay, and how much it cost.
The dashboard is laid out simply, and easy to use. The advantage of using it is to have everything in one place instead of waiting for each employee to submit expense reports and invoices. Plus, you can add a company credit card so they won’t have to use their own payment methods, which is another way to track spending.
Airbnb for Work is NOT the best solution for large corporations. For example, if you have 2,000+ employees and want to organize a conference or meeting, you’d definitely want to look elsewhere for that kind of space. Airbnb for work is best for smaller business travel.
Also, Airbnb isn’t subject to the same safety controls as major hotels, like marked exits, ADA compliance, and sprinklers in every room in case of a fire. You’re often staying in a home intended for residential, not commercial, use. While that certainly gives a space a “homey” feel, you might need something with a ramp and an elevator, or other special features, to make yourself feel comfortable.
And on that note, be aware of cancellations. Because things can (and do) pop up, like if the heat goes out in winter, or a busted pipe the owner has to replace. It’s not like they can move you to another room like in a regular hotel. And if this happens last-minute, it could throw your plans into turmoil. Although I’ve personally found Airbnb to be fast and accommodating in the case of emergencies like this.
This can happen in a regular hotel too, of course. For example, when I showed up to my Marriott hotel in Orlando, they told me the water was out on the entire floor – and sent me to another hotel across the street. Or, you might arrive to a hotel to find a broken elevator, noisy guests next to your room, or loud construction right outside your window (all of these have happened to me at one time).
And hotels undergo frequent renovations. When I arrived at my Hyatt hotel in New Mexico, we had to walk around the entire building to check-in because the lobby was closed. So being flexible is important any and every time you travel, not just with Airbnb!
Finally, consider some locations are known Airbnbs, and not everyone in the community is welcoming toward a constant rotation of new guests. Some folks don’t like Airbnb. So you might experience hostility from neighbors.
If you have any safety concerns, be sure to ask your host. And always trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t question it – just walk away.
And again, that applies to every travel experience. Just know what you’re getting into as much as you can before you show up. Safety first, always!
There’s No Loyalty Program, but You Can Still Save With the Best Business Credit Cards
An Airbnb loyalty program is rumored to be in the works, but we don’t know when it will launch. Until then, applying for a small business credit card allows you to earn valuable welcome bonuses and earn miles & points on your Airbnb business travel.
Our favorite cards include:
Best Business Credit Card Overall: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card – Tons of us at Million Mile Secrets have this card
Best Business Credit Card With No Annual Fee: Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card – Huge welcome offer and great bonus categories with NO annual fee
Best Business Credit Card for Travel / Airport Lounge Access: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express– One of the overall best travel credit cards, period
And be sure to check out the full list of small business cards. They’re our ticket to award travel – which includes cheap stays through Airbnb, even for business travel.
Airbnb for Work is an easy way to manage team travel, save money on lodging, and bring colleagues closer together through team building and collaboration. On average, it’s 49% cheaper within the US to book an Airbnb instead of a traditional hotel.
The dashboard is simple to use, and offers organizational features to keep everything in one central hub. When you book through Airbnb for Work, you can expect to find fast Wi-Fi, self check-in, toiletries, and flexible cancellation policies, just like most hotels offer.
While Airbnbs are usually reliable, stay flexible in case your host has to cancel because of an emergency or other sudden issue. And it’s not the best option for huge corporations. The ideal client here is small business teams or solo travelers.
That doesn’t mean you can’t save on your stay! Until Airbnb creates a loyalty program, you can use the best business credit cards to earn miles, points, and valuable welcome bonuses when you travel.
It’s a viable and money-saving alternative to hotels, especially if you usually book several rooms for your team. In fact, some folks prefer it!
Have you used Airbnb for Work during your business travels? Let us know how it’s helped you and your team!
Author: Harlan Vaughn
Originally posted on Million Mile Secrets
Re-posted with permission
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