The hotel industry has been through a lot lately. After experiencing tremendous success in the last decades, more recently bookings have taken a hit.Due to the success of the sharing economy, a big part of their revenue is now pocketed by individuals sharing their living space with people they've never met before.
And even though the concept sounds like a recipe for disaster, AirBNB has grown into one of the most successful travel companies of our time.
Even if there are now many more ways to book an accommodation, most businesses are still using hotels to accommodate their traveling employees.
But when they're already enjoying the benefits of these new ways to travel in their personal time, there's no reason not to offer the same experience on a business trip.
Better yet, there are a lot of benefits.
As the most popular alternative to hotels, adding AirBNB as an option for business travelers should be a no-brainer.
Today's more than 250,000 companies are using AirBNB as an alternative to hotels. Travelers are looking for real, authentic experiences — something that a stuffy hotel can't provide.
Instead of staying in a boring, cookie-cutter room with a mediocre continental breakfast, AirBNB connects you with the local population — your host will gladly explain the ins and outs of the city, while some might even offer you a glass of wine and some conversation.
Every listing is unique; depending on your budget you could either stay in a castle, rent an entire apartment or sleep in someone’s spare bed. Wherever you end up, it's a personal experience unlike anything you would ever get in a hotel.
Besides offering a different experience, there's also a financial angle — hotels are relatively expensive, while AirBNBs have a wide range of prices.
If you run a startup that's strapped for cash, there's a wide range of budget options available on the platform. It's easy to find one with a lower price than a hotel, but with more space and better amenities.
Even if you would splurge on an expensive AirBNB, chances are you're getting much more than you would at a hotel for the same price.
If you're willing to spend $500 per night on accommodation in New York's Tribeca neighborhood, AirBNB gets you a stunning loft, while the Hilton Garden Inn only has a basic double room available at the same price.
welive - the Not So corporate apartments
If you're abroad for more than two weeks, staying in a hotel or AirBNB can prove to be a cumbersome and expensive endeavour. Thankfully, wework, has created what every business traveler has been dreaming of - at least us - corporate appartments that don't suck.
The project is called welive and provides long and short term accomodation for professionnals — they're the best way to get a temporary home away from home while meeting new people and having all the perks of a hotel.
"From mailrooms and laundry rooms that double as bars and event spaces to communal kitchens, roof decks, and hot tubs, WeLive challenges traditional apartment living through physical spaces that foster meaningful relationships"
Out of the box
What if you would completely rethink accommodation for business travelers?
The easiest way to create a comfortable and personal travel experience might also be the cheapest. If employees visit a city where they know someone, why not have them stay over at their place?
Yes, there's a chance this unconventional policy might come across as an unprofessional and 'cheap' way to deal with company travel, which is why it shouldn't be forced upon employees. Instead, offer them the possibility to forego a traditional accommodation in exchange for a financial compensation. This could be a percentage of the amount that would've normally been spent on a hotel or AirBNB.
It's a real win-win situation — you're cutting costs, while your employees enjoy their business trips more, allowing them to reconnect with their friends.
Why hotels aren't gone just yet
Even though time have been rough, it's too early to call off the entire hotel industry. Some luxuries are reserved to hotels — rooms are always professionally cleaned, you can get your bed turned down on a whim and room service is a godsend for lazy mornings.
Most importantly, due to the threat of AirBNB and other alternatives, hotels are innovating their services again. Hip, hybrid hotels like Citizen M cater to the Millennial traveller, offering a futuristic room complete with customisable ambient lighting and other automated features accessible through an iPad.
Other hotels are teaming up with startups thatare rethinking their traditional business model. Recharge makes their rooms available to rent by the hour — something never before seen in the industry.
Users can instantly book a room, check in within minutes and leave whenever they like. For hoteliers this is a smart way to increase their occupancy rate during low season or times when the hotel is generally empty, like during the day.
Whichever way you like to stay, it's clear that limiting your employees to staying in hotels is an antiquated concept. When you introduce more options, business trips start feeling like leisure — and these bleisure trips can be a lot more enjoyable.
Enjoy your business trips.