A smart option for work relocations and extended stays
When business needs require an employee to spend an extended period of time away from home, or relocate to another city or country, Airbnb can provide an accommodation solution that gives travel and mobility managers a flexible option for long-term stays and offers employees more choices for location and lodging style.
Employees travel for business on extended stays for different reasons and lengths of time. Extended stays can range from long business trips of five days to a week, to training sessions that require several weeks away and on-site projects that can last several months to a year. Relocations also require longer stays than traditional business trips as employees and their families transition to a new location.
“One Box employee moved to our London office from Redwood City (CA), and while she was looking for an apartment she stayed in an Airbnb in London for a month,” said Rachel Ersted, Senior Treasury Analyst at Box, a cloud management and file sharing service for businesses. “Another person on the Professional Services team had a client in New York with a huge implementation, and he stayed in an Airbnb in New York City for three months to complete that.”
Box employees working with colleagues in company offices in London and Austin also use Airbnb for shorter business trips. “People going to those offices will typically stay up to a week,” Ersted said. “It’s just more comfortable and more affordable to stay in an Airbnb than staying in a hotel, and they feel like they are more part of the local office culture and part of the city culture as well. Any time there is a long-term stay I see Airbnb use.”
Gayla Steeneck, Travel Supervisor for IES Communications, a cabling and communications company, uses Airbnb as one of the company’s extended-stay options. “We have jobs throughout the U.S. and they are constantly changing,” Steeneck said. “We wanted to fill that interim, something that was for a stay of a month to three months, that we could lock into that didn’t have all of the restrictions that an apartment lease would have.”
Using Airbnb for extended stays benefits both the company and employees, she added. “From the traveler perspective, it’s just being able to have a nice place, a decent house that has a kitchen and a washing machine and everything, all the comforts of home, where they can park in a driveway or a garage. To them it’s definitely better than a hotel,” Steeneck said.
For the company, “Cost saving is the bottom line, especially if we are putting three or four people in the house, it definitely saves money over individual hotel rooms. There’s a big benefit when we have long-term projects,” she said.
Discounts for extended stays
Many Airbnb hosts offer discounts for extended stays, calculated on a percentage basis. Weekly discounts apply for stays of seven to 27 nights; monthly discounts apply for stays of 28 nights or longer. Any discounts offered by a host will be displayed in the Prices section on the Overview page of a listing. Discounts offered by hosts are built into the pricing structure and are automatically calculated and displayed in the price breakdown once dates for Check in and Check out have been entered.
It’s just more comfortable and more affordable to stay in an Airbnb than staying in a hotel, and they feel like they are more part of the local office culture and part of the city culture as well.
Mark Papale, Manager of Global Travel Operations for Autodesk, a 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software developer, said booking long-term stays with Airbnb has resulted in significant savings for Autodesk.
When an Airbnb reservation for close to $20,000 popped up on the Airbnb for Work company dashboard, Papale contacted the employee who made the booking to learn more. The employee had booked a multi-bedroom home in Asia for five months to move a series of employees through training sessions.
“Hotel expenses for such bookings would have cost $100,000, while the Airbnb was $17,000, an $83,000 savings,” Papale said. “We’re renting [Airbnb] homes or apartments for up to six or seven months at a time, and flipping out the different employees that are staying there.”
“We also see a large uptick of long-term stays in cities like Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where we have a big financial headquarters,” he added. “This typically happens as we’re building out new sites and we have project managers or teams coming in. They’re staying in these apartments long term, and it’s been really great. I’ve spoken to several of them and they prefer Airbnb rather than staying in a hotel for three or four months.”
Using Airbnb for extended business stays and relocations can make life a little easier for travel managers, too.
“For me as a travel manager, it’s so easy because I can always find apartments close to our projects fast,” said Sabine Buselmeier, Team Assistant for the Ganter Group, an international construction and real estate company. Ganter primarily uses Airbnb for long-term stays in major world capitals ranging from New York to London to Moscow. “The apartments tend to be less expensive, and they have kitchens, which is important for long stays,” Buselmeier said.
When projects exceed their anticipated duration, Buselmeier said it is easy to make amendments to bookings on the Airbnb platform. She also likes the ease of expense reporting and the ability to provide different types of spend metrics via the company dashboard, something that also appeals to Ganter’s financial department.
Airbnb for relocations
Clients of relocation company Altair Global have used Airbnb for different stays including relocations, permanent transfers, extended business travel up to three months, and short-term assignments from six months to a year. Altair Global and relocation company UrbanBound both offer Airbnb as a temporary housing option for their clients.
According to Matthew Eschrich, Manager, Global Operations for Altair Global, trends in the relocation industry are prompting more travel and mobility managers to consider booking Airbnb for extended-stay housing for employee relocations. Eschrich identified two trends supporting broader adoption of Airbnb for relocations: the increasing number of millennials in the workforce, and an industry-wide shift to become more customer-focused by offering employees additional long-term accommodation options.
That self-service option for booking is really appealing to a lot of millennials because they want to drive their own journey.
Airbnb’s inventory of more than four million listings in 191 countries worldwide gives employees the ability to choose a home that is ideally suited to their location and lifestyle requirements. “Employees can look at every available option in the vicinity and do enough research to pick an apartment or a single-family home that is going to work for their specific needs, right where they want it,” Eschrich said.
Employees can book directly via the Airbnb for Work company dashboard. “That self-service option for booking is really appealing to a lot of millennials because they want to drive their own journey,” he added.
Signing up for Airbnb for Work enables easy filtering for listings suited for work travel, which provide essentials that employees need to be their most productive and comfortable. Eschrich described access to these listings via Airbnb’s search tool as “a unique value proposition for employees.”
Altair considers Airbnb a good option for employee relocations and extended stays in higher density markets where it can be difficult to find corporate serviced apartments or suitable hotels, Eschrich said. And in the case of long-term assignments that might come up at the last minute, “Airbnb has been able to provide that quick turnaround for us.”
Whether an extended trip is needed for an offsite meeting, training, project implementation, or relocation, Airbnb for Work offers the inventory choices, comforts of home, and access to local living that enable employees to enjoy a productive and satisfying business travel experience.