If you follow my shenanigans of Facebook, you know that I LOVE AIRBNB. Renting homes using Airbnb turns my business travel into a comfortable and enjoyable experience. I love the home-away-from-home experience vs being stuffed in a tiny hotel room. Not only is it great for being able to have spacious work meetings but also for having family and friends. During the summer, my children and dog join me for some of my business travel and we thoroughly enjoy our stays. Just keep reading and I will show you how to get the most from your business travel using Airbnb.
Make your own business travel reservations
It is my responsibility to make my own travel reservations (using my corporate credit card, of course). I get the most out of my work travel by treating it like a vacation and Airbnb is my first stop, before even booking a flight. I also look for free and inexpensive things to do, find out where the best barbecue joints are (so that I can compare them to Kansas City, duh) and look into the local museums and garden centers. Doing these things allow me the ability to enjoy each city that I visit while my company pays for the majority of my travel expenses, even food.
My co-workers are into earning points for their work travel so that they can cash in on rooms for their personal travel. Staying at the same hotel chain, in the same blah looking rooms, in every city is just plain BORING! I may book a 2 floor-2 bedroom loft in downtown Austin, or a Brownstone in St. Louis or a Cabin on the lake in Tulsa. I have stayed in 5 bedroom homes and even mansions all for under the daily allowance that my company allows. The architectural beauty, style, and decor of my rental homes are much better than booking a reservation at the local Marriott.
I realize that some companies have someone make the reservations for them. If your company requires you to travel a lot, talk to them and see if you can possibly start making your own accommodations. This may be a stretch but it is worth a try. Let them know that airbnb makes it easy for corporations to manage the travel of their employees.
Click HERE to save $40 on your first reservation using Airbnb.
Know your requirements
It is a good idea to know what you require for your stay. Good WIFI is a must for all business travel. Booking a boathouse out in the middle of beautiful nowhere may not be logical unless it offers WIFI. Look for flexible check-in/out times to align with your busy schedule and responsive hosts. Keyless entries, are also great and allow for 24-hour check-in. AirBnb makes business travel simple by letting you filter through suggested business travel rentals.
I love home decor, so I look for unique spaces that are going to be just as fabulous as my home. If I wanted basic and boring, I’d just book a hotel! I also like to look for images with white towels and bedding. This is one thing that I do love about hotels. White is not forgiving when stained or dirty so having white bedding and linens make me feel that the space is clean.
You really need to think about what you love about a hotel. If having turndown service, maid service and room service is an absolute must then Airbnb may not be for you. Also, keep in mind that you may not have access to a printer. I have rented spaces with business centers or wireless printers within the home but they are not typically provided. On trips that were close enough to drive, I just brought my own printer. I typically prepare my prints in advance or send my prints to an office store near my rental.
Hotels also have other perks like a fitness center, pools, spas, and restaurants. Look through the amenities of each listing to see what that rental has to offer. Once you book your stay simply supplement your needs by living like a local. Check out great local gyms, restaurants, and supermarkets. Your home gym may even have a franchise in the area that you will be renting and many gyms offer a free 3-7 day trial which may cover your entire work trip. This gives you a great feel of the city. You never know you may find a place that you can call your next home.
You get what you negotiate! I am always able to find a great space well within budget but occasionally I find a space that is absolutely amazing but either slightly or well over budget. Airbnb makes it simple to reach out to the host and make a proposal. They can either counter your proposal or decline. If the offer is reasonable and space would otherwise be unoccupied, the host may consider taking a lower offer versus nothing.
Look for amenities that will make your stay comfortable and convenient. Although my company will pay for my clothes to be cleaned, I love having access to a washer and dryer. Keep in mind that you will not have a maid service coming to bring you fresh towels and I require fresh towels every day. Having a laundry facility means not running out of clean towels! It also means that I don’t have to come home with my kid’s dirty laundry. Having access to a full kitchen is healthy and convenient. Some rentals offer hot breakfast or breakfast foods. How cool is that? If you need access to toiletries, blow dryer, ironing board etc, just look at the amenities to make sure they are included. Keep in mind you are renting actual homes. These home can have, hot tubs, pools, workout rooms and even saunas just like a hotel.
If you book a last minute trip consider booking your stay at more than one location. Earlier this year, I went to St. Louis right during opening week for baseball and rental availability was tight. The thought of staying in a hotel made me sad, so I spread my week long trip into 3 different spaces and had a blast doing so. I was able to stay in 3 equally awesome spaces in 3 parts of town, including a weekend on the river at Mark’s Mansion, better known as The Bluffs on Broadway.
Read the reviews of properties that you want to rent and the host that you are renting from. Airbnb does not release the review until both the host and renter have left a review. This practice increases the integrity of the review. Take a look at what previous guests are saying they love about the properties. You will learn that many of the host also use Airbnb for their personal travel. If you are not sure about renting a newly published rental, take a look at the renters profile. If they travel using Airbnb, chances are, they know what others are expecting. I don’t mind giving a new space a chance. I loving the power of reviews and ratings. It could be your one review that helps lead them to the path of being a future super host.
My family spent the entire summer in Austin last year. I love that city and wanted to take advantage of visiting a friend in Houston plus travel to Galveston so that my babies could spend a day at the beach and boardwalk. What did I do? I booked a separate reservation, packed up our beach gear and drove to Houston. I was able to find a shared space for under $25 a night. It was a townhome with a beautifully decorated shared common area. We had a bedroom with a queen sized bed, air mattress, fridge, and bathroom. It was perfect for our weekend getaway and all that I had to pay was $50 for our stay. It was the ultimate work-travel-family-life-balance experience.
If you don’t see what you are looking for with the amenities, just ask! You never know what a host will do to help make your stay comfortable. They could already offer something that you need and just don’t have it listed in the amenities section. I have have been blown away at some of the extras that weren’t even listed. I’ve even had hosts offer grocery services and had all of the items in the fridge before I got there.
Take advantage of having kitchen access and cook a meal for yourself every day. My company gives me a food allowance but that can be used up really fast when eating out. It can also be unhealthy. I make sure that I have the essentials; eggs, bread and milk and other items that will allow me to quickly create a meal.
Have a good profile and be a good guest
Just like you are looking at the reviews to figure out whether or not you should rent a space, hosts are looking over your profile to see if they want to rent to you. Make sure that you have a clear and friendly profile image and that all of your profile info is verified. You want the host to feel comfortable renting to you. It is also important that you leave the home in the same condition or better than how you found it. AirBnb is like staying at a good friend’s home and you should treat it as such! That will leave you with good guest ratings which come in handy when you want to try to negotiate a rental for vacation stays. When a host looks over my profile, they know that I will respect their home.
I have truly booked some amazing Business Travel rental spaces using Airbnb. Have you? Share your AirBnb travel experience. If you haven’t, what are you waiting on? Don’t forget to click HERE so that you can save $40 on your next rental.
This post is not sponsored by Airbnb, however, it does contain links that may help me earn credits for future stays.