Denmark: Airbnb has acquired Danish booking site Gaest to help business people book off-site spaces for meetings and events.
The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal.
Gaest, which offers meeting spaces for rentals by the hour or day, was founded in 2015 in Aarhus, Denmark, and has disclosed $3.5 million in fundraising.
Airbnb said in a statement that it was aiming to preserve the brand name Gaest.com and the separate platform in the near future.
Other startups also aim to help companies rent out non-traditional spaces, such as urban lofts, gazebo, or basements as premises for companies that need a place to hold a workshop or photoshoot.
Other players include Breather, which offers spaces across 10 cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. However, its high valuation expectations, based on having disclosed around $122 million in funding, may have pushed Airbnb to purchase the cheaper option in Gaest.
A number of innovators are trying to address the moments between arrival and check-in and work and play.
Dublin-based MeetingsBooker CEO and founder, Ciaran Delaney, said: “It certainly underlines the rapidly growing interest in the automation of meeting venue discovery and bookings.”
MeetingsBooker is one of the largest online listing and discovery services for event spaces, with over 125,000 hotel and alternative meeting space providers worldwide and with backing by Delta Ventures and ACT Venture Capital.
Delaney said: “A major global player and disrupter like Airbnb entering the market will help to further accelerate adoption across the sector both for hotels and alternative spaces. Meeting and event spaces is the last part of business travel to be made bookable online, and we feel within three years 80 per cent of the market will be online.”
Online booking sites are looking for their next phases of growth by expanding into different areas, such as the estimated $400 billion a year small meetings market.
Last April, Airbnb debuted a tool for meeting planners and group travellers
to show Airbnb properties near events that were taking place and also launched the new brand Airbnb for Events.
Likewise, in September, Airbnb for Work, a collection of tools for companies to manage their spending and track where their travellers are, added more meetings and events booking tools to its platform.
The company has also sought a partnership with co-working firm WeWork to make it easier for Airbnb customers to buy a day pass to a workspace near where they are staying in a host’s property.
Airbnb president of homes, Greg Greeley, pushed for the acquisition less than a year after joining the company.