One out of every six companies allows its travelers to stay at home-sharing properties such as AirBnB, reports a new study by the GBTA Foundation, the research and education arm of the Global Business Travel Association—but more than twice that number are under the impression that it is okay to do so. That means many travelers are booking and staying in properties unsupported by their travel policy—a serious duty of care issue.
The study, Home-Sharing and Travel Policies – A Shifting Landscape, conducted in partnership with AccorHotels, also found that many companies (63%) have or are reviewing home-sharing options in preparation for deciding whether or not to allow their use.
While staying at an AirBnB property can be cost-effective, companies need to balance that against their obligation to keep travelers safe and productive, the study said. The key concern is the safety and security of home-share properties (cited by 87%); 61% reported concerns about the unpredictability of home-share property conditions. Other top concerns were nonrefundable deposits, canceling reservations at the last minute, and strict cancellation policies. Ancillary but important offerings to business travelers, like reliable Wi-Fi (33 percent), inflexibility with check-in and check-out (28 percent) and lack of amenities (18 percent), are less of a concern to travel professionals.
Another big concern, cited by 61% of respondents, is the inability to collect traveler information during booking with home-shares. If home-sharing options were integrated into the GDS so traveler bookings could be tracked, one-half of travel managers (52 percent) say this would increase the likelihood of including these options in their travel policy.
The findings were based on online survey of 147 travel professionals in the United States and Canada in January and February, 2017.