Opinion by Rahul Chauhan, chief executive officer and founder, RoomsXpert
The concept of BnB became more popular since 2014 with house sharing network creeping into the business travel industry. The push by various companies providing BnB services has given this concept a great boost. Start-ups and small entrepreneurs have always preferred to opt for BnB services for corporate travel but now large corporates are also getting attracted towards this concept. Considering the figures, in 2015, only 250 companies used BnB but today the numbers have gone up to 2,50,000. This is quite a significant increase in merely four years. Some of the big brand like Alphabet, Inc. (Google) and Domino’s pizza are preferring BnB for their employees. Furthermore, Fortune 500 companies are also onboard with BnB for corporates which is quite an encouragement.
With companies coming up with innovative ways to engage and retain employees, approving an alternative accommodation option to hotels is becoming more and more prevalent. Businesses are becoming increasingly global, with many entrepreneurs and smaller-scale start-up employees travelling for work. Such travellers typically look at reducing expenses in every way and BnBs offer a cost-effective option. Now, business travellers are focusing more on increasing relaxation while travelling and look at those little things to de-stress on an official trip. The personal touch and small elements of surprise (like a complimentary gift or a meal cooked to suit their taste) that a stay at a BnB can offer are usually seen by business travellers as a welcome change from the rigidity of a business hotel. Many BnB’s are also coming up various initiatives to attract the corporate travellers. Many women business travellers are also choosing BnB’s over hotels, with the reasons ranging from safety that an owner-operated property ensures to superior quality service.
Despite BnB options becoming more and more efficient and suitable for modern business travellers, they still have a long way to go before they start offering everything that a hotel does. One of the main deliverable is a guarantee of quality. While most BnBs have a set of quality standards that they adhere to, it is still not easy to guarantee the quality of a certain home.
Another hurdle to cross is that hotels are often located at convenient locations, close to business parks and meeting centres which makes it easy for the traveller to commute from stay to work. Because most business centres do not have residential options around, it may be difficult to find a BnB there.
However, given the changing mind-sets of modern corporate traveller, people are more likely to be flexible on locations and don’t want to be tied up to business centric locations. As more and more corporates choose BnB, it is inevitable that BnB will soon pose a threat to hotel industry, forcing them to lower their prices and be more flexible and hence changing the face of corporate travel. At RoomsXpert.com, we are also seeing a considerable increase in corporate travellers searching for hotel alternatives for various reasons. Hence, we are also offering BnB listings to our clients for a good corporate travel experience.