Concur to Allow Travel Agents to Book Airbnb

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Airbnb and Concur just inked a big partnership that will allow travel agents to book Airbnb listings embedded within Concur Travel.

The embedded listings will allow users to search for Airbnb listings directly on the search results page of the Concur online booking tool, Concur said, with itineraries and e-receipts being automatically fed back to Concur to simplify expense reports. Concur said that it is now the only online business travel booking tool with Airbnb listings.

According to Concur, the number of business travelers expensing Airbnb accommodations increased 33 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2017.

“Our customers want to give their employees the ability to take advantage of Airbnb lodging, but within the framework and controls of their existing travel program,” said Tim MacDonald, chief product officer at Concur, in a written release.

“The lines between business and leisure travel are blurring, with more and more of us combining business trips with weekend stays,” said David Holyoke, global head of business travel at Airbnb. “Travelers often want to get out and absorb the culture of a city when they’re traveling for business, while travel managers need visibility in to employee spend and whereabouts to support corporate policy and duty of care programs.”

The move comes during a time of continuing expansion for Airbnb. In February Airbnb acquired Montreal-based Luxury Retreats, a luxury vacation rental company with over 4,000 homes in over 100 destinations worldwide. That followed the November launch of its new Trips platform, which offers local hosts the chance to offer activities within a destination through Airbnb’s platform. Bloomberg has even reported that the company is eyeing air travel as part of its growth strategy.

Airbnb is also stepping up its expansion in the Caribbean with a recent agreement with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to develop a set of policy principles and recommendations on the sharing economy for Caribbean governments and other stakeholders. As part of the agreement, Airbnb and the CTO will share data and studies with policymakers about the impact of the sharing economy on the region, as well as identify ways to make it more inclusive.

On the leisure side, in our recent roundtable of Millennial travel agents, opinion was split on booking Airbnb. Some agents reported that a lot of business has gone over to the platform, while others said that they liked the way in which the company has acted as a competitor to traditional hotels. Other agents said that the less-touristy experience of an Airbnb appeals to many Millennial travelers.

Concur said that the new Airbnb listings are expected to be available in the coming months.

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