Airbnb shunned by business travellers, study shows

Airbnb shunned by business travellers, study shows

Business travellers are shunning the sharing economy when it comes to booking accommodation and prefer hotel chains to independent properties, according to research for the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC).

A survey of more than 1,000 UK corporate travellers making frequent trips found just 2% would prefer to stay in accommodation booked though sites such as Airbnb.

The study, by research firm AudienceNet on behalf of the GTMC, found 75% of business travellers surveyed would rather stay in chain hotels and only one in five (21%) would choose independent hotels.

The results surprised AudienceNet research director Ben Fowler who noted "a really small percentage" would opt for Airbnb-style accommodation.

He said: "There was very little difference by age. I was surprised, but it proves the value of research."

When asked why they preferred chain hotels, the corporate travel respondents cited the fact that they expect certain standards and "know what they get".

Those opting for independent hotels liked the variety and friendliness of staff in such properties.

The 98% who preferred not to stay in Airbnb-style accommodation cited safety, "fear of the unknown", the possibility that something could go wrong and "missing breakfast" as concerns.

Location was by far the biggest factor in deciding where to book, identified as a priority by 71%, followed by price (55%), ease of booking (53%), safety (49%) and hotel facilities (47%).

Complimentary Wi-Fi was the most important facility, identified by 96% of business travellers.

Perhaps disappointingly for the GTMC, only one in five (19%) saw booking with a travel management company as their preferred method of booking, while two in five (39%) opted for direct bookings.

John West, London managing director of hotel reservations service HRS which co-sponsored the research, suggested the reluctance to book with peer-to-peer sites "is also down to real time availability".

West said: "That is still an issue in the sharing economy. People want real time confirmation [of bookings]."

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