Experiences, not cash, are the new corporate bonus. At least, according to Airbnb.
With that mantra in mind, the $31 billion company is expanding the part of its business that targets business travelers, called Airbnb for Work. The new effort will help them tap into a large market they’ve been missing out on — non-travelers.
Airbnb is adding three new features. The first addition allows businesses to use Airbnb Experiences, the part of the app or website where travelers can book tours or events for their vacations, to arrange team-building activities, like sailing lessons or pastry-making classes. The second makes some of the homes available on Airbnb for corporate off-sites and meetings. And the final new feature lets employers secure temporary housing for employees relocating for work.
“In today’s hyper-competitive talent environment, once you’ve recruited great employees, you want to keep them,” the company wrote in today’s announcement. “The spaces where people spend time away from the office make a big difference. Sterile conference rooms aren’t motivating and don’t foster creativity. However, relaxing and productive environments help people open up to connect and contribute; they help teams achieve their shared goals more effectively.”
Airbnb for Work has proven to be quite the money-making endeavor since its 2014 launch as “Airbnb for Business,” and now accounts for 15 percent of its bookings. It saw 3x growth in bookings from 2015 to 2016 and again from 2016 to 2017. Indeed, 700,000 companies have used the service to plan business travel.
Airbnb has been busy expanding its platform this year. Last month, it integrated Airbnb listings into Concur’s search and booking tool in what was the first time it linked up with a corporate travel platform. A few months before that, it established a new tier specifically for high-end customers, called Airbnb Plus and Beyond by Airbnb.
The hospitality powerhouse is expected to hit the public markets as soon as June 30, 2019. Slowly, it’s taking the steps necessary to IPO, like creating a bonus program that will provide cash bonuses to employees in 2018 and 2019 and poaching an Amazon executive to lead its homes unit.