Airbnb for business travel: Surprisingly accommodating

AIRBNB, a short-term apartment and room-rental service, is an increasingly popular choice for business travellers. That’s according to Concur, a company that makes software that tracks business-travel expenses. The money that road warriers spend with Airbnb has gone from “zero” two years ago to nearly $1m this quarter, according to Tim MacDonald, a Concur executive. That is only around a 1% market share, but the growth rate is “eye-popping,” Mr MacDonald told CNBC.In the past, I have argued that Airbnb would not be a realistic option for business travellers, because the rooms aren’t necessarily cheaper than hotels and come with at least some risk that a host might flake out at the last minute.It is probably time for a mea culpa. In the past few years, I have used Airbnb for several business trips and been pleased every time. Yes, you probably have to be a bit more risk-tolerant than the average business traveller, but the rewards can be great—not so much because you will save money (that part of my initial concern holds true, especially if you want something as comfortable as a hotel room), but because the place you end up staying may be cooler, more interesting and more spacious. At least, that has been my experience. You also may get a chance to explore neighbourhoods you would not have otherwise visited. It takes some time investment firstly to find the right place, …

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