When you think of Airbnb rentals, you usually think about the couple looking for a romantic getaway, the family looking for a larger vacation space, or the group of friends coming together for a reunion. However, it's a mistake to overlook the business travel market. According to the Global Business Travel Association, more than 488 million business trips take place every year in the United States alone. This number is even larger when you consider how much global travel happens today.
Advantages of the Business Traveler
The business traveler is different from the vacation traveler, and many of those differences can be advantageous to you as a vacation rental property owner. Here are some considerations:
1. Business trip happens year-round. Although most vacations occur during peak seasons like school breaks and summer months, people travel for meetings every day. This means that this market segment can potentially help fill vacancies during slower periods.
2. Special events and conferences increase demand. If you happen to live in a metropolitan area where convention centers and major hotels host conferences, large corporate meetings, or training seminars, you may have the opportunity to raise your rates during these high demand periods. Be sure you are aware of when these events happen so you can market your rental accordingly.
3. They are paying on the company's dime. As a result, they may be less concerned about the cost of your rental. If your rental is in the right place and offers the right amenities, you can secure a prime price for the right business traveler.
4. They stay longer. While vacationers may be looking for a one- or two-night getaway, the business guests may be looking for lodging for a whole week or more. Conferences and conventions try to squeeze in as many sessions as possible, often advertising pre- and post-conference add-ons. They may even tack on a day or two at the end for private business meetings with colleagues, suppliers or customers who are also in attendance. And, if your city has other attractions, they may even stay another few days to see some sights while they are in town. The bottom line means that they have the potential to stay longer at your rental.
5. Technology allows working someplace new temporarily. More and more businesses are looking for new ways to spark creativity in their employees. As a result, someone who can do their job from anywhere may opt to stay at a vacation rental to bang out a large, important project or get a fresh environment to generate new ideas. So they may want to rent your space for several weeks or a month. Longer rentals mean fewer times when you have to manage check-in and check-out details or handle the cleaning and maintenance tasks that must be done in between guests. That saves you time and money while still generating income from the longer-term guest.
Achieve "Business Travel Ready" Status
If you're listing your rental on Airbnb, you can work to earn a "Business Travel Ready" briefcase badge, which designates your property as one that has specific amenities. Here are the Airbnb requirements:
• The rental must be for an entire home or apartment.
• Smoking and pets cannot be permitted.
• The rental must have a minimum of a 3-star rating.
• Your minimum response rate must be 90 percent. That means 90 percent of inquiries must receive responses from you within 24 hours over the course of a year.
• Your rental must offer 7-day cancellation terms.
• Wireless internet must be available at your rental.
• A laptop-friendly workspace must be offered.
• The rental must offer 24-hour self check-in including a lock box or electronic keypad.
• A smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector are required.
• Essentials like toilet paper, clean towels, an iron, hangers, shampoo, hair dryer and fresh linens must be available.
Value-Added Amenities to Boost Compatibility
Whether you decide to adhere to Airbnb's business travel ready requirements or not, you can still advertise different amenities to business travelers to make your rental more appealing. Here are some value-added ideas:
• List your distance from business-friendly venues like large hotels, convention centers or other meeting spaces. Many conferences are often held in hotels to increase convenience. However, if your property is walking distance or an easy shuttle ride, it may be appealing to a business guest who wants to be near the action but also wants to get away at the end of the day.
• Invest in coffee makers, comfortable work chairs, international power adapters, paper, pens and printers that can make working from your rental easier and more enjoyable.
• Leave a list of nearby restaurants that can deliver good food quickly or note other services like laundry businesses that might be needed in a pinch.
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