Team travel for business trips is a fast-growing trend as millennials — the most sociable generation of employees by far — increase in ranks to reach an estimated half of the U.S. workforce by 2020.
According to Carlson Wagonlit’s 2017 CWT Connected Traveler Study, a multigenerational survey of more than 1,900 travelers from 16 countries, close to two-thirds of millennials regularly travel with others, including 43 percent who travel with colleagues for work. Airbnb homes are an ideal option for travel managers whose teams are attending conferences, events, and offsite meetings in any location.
“Airbnb is perfect for folks who might want to stay together as a group,” said Alla Neys, Director of Global Travel Programs for Medallia, a cloud-based customer feedback firm. “Medallians often travel together for a work event as a team. As a result, there’s a social element of staying together and working together. When people make the choice to use Airbnb, they are happier overall,” Neys added. “And happy people are more productive employees!”
Nick Lalumiere, Travel Specialist at Shopify, an e-commerce retail and business management platform, said Shopify teams who stay together in an Airbnb for corporate travel are more productive — both during and after the trip.
“When we have teams travel together for, say, conferences in a large city, instead of each getting separate hotel rooms, they may take advantage of an Airbnb option where they can each have their own room yet also have common areas where they can work together as a team,” Lalumiere said.
“It’s like having a team-building experience throughout the entire conference, and there is more time to work together,” he said. “After the day at the conference you can chat, catch up on emails, that kind of thing — you’re already with your team in the same environment. That experience increases the productivity aspect, not just during that trip itself but after the trip as well, because of the enhanced relationships within the team.”
Offsite meetings with Airbnb
Offsite meetings are another opportunity for business travelers to use private Airbnb homes for shared accommodations, a common practice at Box, a cloud management and file sharing service for businesses.
“It’s great because they can all stay in the same place, it’s really easy, it’s affordable, and it prevents them from having to get separate meeting rooms or conference centers,” said Rachel Ersted, Senior Treasury Analyst at Box. “It’s all right there and they feel like they’re at home with each other.”
“Hotels offer great solutions for many meetings, but sometimes team leaders are looking for variety with their events. Opening up the Airbnb option allows for expanded creativity,” said Jack Reynaert, Manager of Global Travel and Meetings for Meritor, a leading global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking, and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicles and industrial markets.
“When you can do a meeting at a facility that is truly unique, I think it opens up a lot of different opportunities for making the event something that’s more memorable and potentially more productive. You have a lot of opportunity to collaborate. If you get a three-, four-, or five-bedroom Airbnb home and bring the team in, you could focus on any kind of project very tightly.”
Reynaert shared an example of a director at Meritor, who recently had a collaborative, team-building experience with a company offsite at an Airbnb home. The director has a vacation home on a lake a couple of hours away from Meritor headquarters, and her home is right next door to a home listed on Airbnb. She planned an offsite retreat for her staff at her vacation home and the Airbnb home next door.
“Afterwards, she said it went over so well that she’s going to do it again,” Reynaert said. “Her staff had a great time, they were highly productive, they got everything accomplished that they wanted to, and it was a fantastic team-building event.”
For team travel to conferences, events, and offsite meetings, Airbnb offers an ideal option for companies that want to enhance employee satisfaction while boosting employee productivity and collaboration.