For the casual observer this seems like quite a leap for the company to take although for its senior management it’s just another small step in their efforts to reposition the company as a ‘hospitality’ company that serves everyone’s needs from individual travellers to businesses.
Its Airbnb for work division is already experiencing startling growth; the company reports that 300,000 businesses are now working with the $31 billion ‘start up’ on their business travel needs. In fact, it was requests from these businesses that led the company to launch this new service.
So they’re creating a new category on the site where accommodation providers can label their accommodation as ‘suitable for events’. Clearly, ‘events’ can cover a very broad range of things from small, intimate gatherings to, well, quite rowdy affairs. Offsite meetings to us means things like ‘team bonding’ exercises, which we just don’t see happening in the average British semi, unless it has a climbing frame and trampoline in the back garden, in which case you might be able to arrange some team sports.
Actually having given this topic some more thought here in the office, we think there is all manner of activities that could be called team-bonding and which could justify taking over somebody’s house for the day. A game of hide and seek in the back garden perhaps (although the shed should be out of bounds)?
Another required shift in mindset is that most users of Airbnb accommodation want a bedroom for the night, whereas this new type of customer wants it for during the day. Presumably they would have to agree to tidying up everything before you got home from work and would have put anything that they used back where they found it?