[UPDATE: July 16, 2017: Airbnb and Concur announced that “in the coming months,” business travelers would “be able to search and book Airbnb rentals” in Concur Travel, with itineraries and e-receipts “automatically” synchronizing to Concur Expense.]
Concur announced that integration allowing users to book Airbnb through its TripLink “open booking” approach is live. The pair already had enabled Airbnb’s site and apps to feed receipts into linked Concur Expense accounts.
The new booking connection should benefit both TripLink and Airbnb. Corporate travel buyers are more interested in Airbnb if travelers can book through preferred systems. With more appeal, TripLink may become one of those.
The collaboration doesn’t address Airbnb’s main challenges in the corporate market. Most businesses have no formal employee guidance on Airbnb. But The Company Dime since July spoke with almost 30 corporate travel managers who had evaluated the option. Twenty-five of the companies chose to discourage or not endorse Airbnb while three gave a green light.
Airbnb also faces concerns about reliability. Like on Uber, there’s a rating system for the operator. But there’s more at stake with lodging. Dirty dishes, a hassle getting in the door — any unexpected aspect of the environs, really — can make for an uncomfortable or even unsuccessful business trip.
“While the reputation rating system on Airbnb appears to serve as a powerful deterrent to renting out unclean properties, it can still happen, and hosts typically aren’t required by law to meet the same standards of cleanliness as a hotel,” according to a LinkedIn post by HospitalityLawyer.com’s founder, attorney Stephen Barth. “While hotels are required by law to install and maintain safety features like smoke detectors and fire escapes, many private residences — especially older ones — do not have these features. Hotels almost universally control access to various parts of their buildings and typically have at least basic security measures in place in parking lots and entry areas, while many houses and apartments do not.”
Airbnb is addressing some issues with a business travel site that offers properties it considers most suitable. Internet access, for example, is a must. Airbnb officials this week did not respond to requests for more information about its business travel initiatives.