Industry Perspectives

How short-term rentals can appeal to business travellers

With bleisure and millennial travel preferences creating an opportunity for less traditional corporate travel, what can owners of short-term rental properties do to attract more business guests?

People are travelling for business - just like they always have - but thanks to trends like bleisure and experiential travel extending to working life, an increasing number are looking beyond traditional hotels. Instead, they’re staying in alternative accommodations such as homes and apartments.

Growth in bleisure provides one key to understanding the appeal of short-term rentals. A whopping 49% of business travellers are extending their trips for leisure purposes, with the average extension being three days. Factor in millennials - 75% of whom perceive travel as a job perk and the often-expressed desire to “live like a local” - it’s easy to see how this opportunity plays well for Booking.com partners.

Those who prefer bedding down in a home environment aren’t just freelancers, digital nomads or workers on long-term assignments. These are travellers who have become used to the idea of short-term home rentals in their leisure time and want to apply that same mindset when they travel for work.

Where do they want to stay?

The preferred alternative accommodations for business travellers on Booking.com are apartments, followed by guesthouses, aparthotels, and B&Bs. But what does a home property need in order to be a good choice for a business traveller?

The basics are easy to identify and for most business travellers these amenities are non-negotiable. Stable, fast wifi is essential, as is a dedicated, comfortable working space. It’s also good to be prepared to offer your guests a list of recommendations for the best wifi-enabled coffee shops, a place for last-minute printing or shipping and even the closest gym. The more you do to ensure business travellers will be effective and productive during their stay, the more likely you are to attract them - so don’t hesitate to mention amenities and services in your property description.

The appeal of business travellers

If your goal is to market your own home or apartment as a destination for business travellers, it’s worth dwelling on the benefits and challenges of hosting this niche group. On the plus side, business travellers are 50% less likely to cancel and are 60% more likely to become repeat customers. But they may also have specific demands. Their employers may need to pay on their behalf, often in advance. Even if they may prefer to stay in a property with all the comforts of home, there are advantages to having access to a front desk attendant and some of the more formal arrangements a hotel may offer.

Think about how you might leverage this knowledge and turn this into an opportunity. How might you facilitate their preferred payment methods? How can you serve as their concierge? While many of these travellers may not need (or even want) interaction with their host, you should have a rock-solid key collection process in place and be as available as possible if your guests do need you.

One important service you can offer to help you get ahead of the competition is the provision of invoices. Business travellers frequently have to declare all of their travel costs and are accustomed to receiving invoices from hotels. If you can provide them with the right documentation you’ll ensure they avoid any issues with declarations and/or reimbursement, which in turn could encourage a repeat visit.

While it’s tempting to conclude that business travellers will earn you higher revenues simply because their employer is footing the bill, this isn’t necessarily the case. Business travellers tend to have a maximum budget per night and this is further complicated by bleisure travellers, who will have to pay the leisure portion of the trip out of their own pockets - which may differ to their corporate budget. You’ll want to spend some time formulating a pricing strategy that takes all of this into account.

If a yearly conference usually sells out all of the hotel rooms in your area by a specific date, how might that change how (and when) you set your pricing? Your biggest differentiator and most valuable asset is your location, so pay close attention to how others in your area market their homes to business travellers. If you are seeing certain trends in pricing you’ll want to take that into account.

More and more business travellers are looking to stay in homes and apartments, and there are a lot of advantages to attracting these types of travellers. If you can make sure you have the amenities they need, the right price and helpful services like providing invoices, you’ll be able to stand out to business travellers and bring them to your property again and again.

 

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Takeaway
  • Trends including bleisure and evolving millennial travel preferences are creating an opportunity for more flexible, informal corporate travel
  • Business travellers have specific needs that must be met to ensure they stay productive during their trip; think the provision of reliable wifi and suitable working space
  • Partners who focus on business travellers can gain an advantage over the competition by providing invoices and targeting them directly using Genius Business