Short-term rental business travel bookings set to soar

UK: A newly-published white paper from Travel Intelligence Network, on behalf of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association [STAA], shows that short-term rentals are set to claim a five per cent share of the corporate business travel market, which is worth up to $8 billion worldwide and £235 million in the UK alone, according to the Global Business Travel Association [GBTA].

The growth is being driven by demand from travelling employees who want more of a say in where they stay and by corporate travel managers who recognise the benefits that short-term rentals can offer, whilst at the same time ensuring duty of care responsibilities are met. STAA members have reported a 25 per cent increase in business travel bookings since the pandemic ended.

The white paper, entitled ‘A new Alternative for Business Stays – why short-term rentals meet business travellers’ post-pandemic needs’ [June 2022] says that, as business travel activity returns to near pre-pandemic levels this year, employees travelling on business are being given more choice over where they want to stay by their travel managers.

As a result, 80 per cent of companies said that they have had to rethink their business travel programmes in a GBTA Business Travel Recovery poll from April. Nine per cent of companies now include non-hotel accommodation options in their travel programme, with a further 23 per cent having preferred deals in place with non-hotel brands, as per Deloitte’s Corporate Travel Survey.

The trend follows research published in August 2021, which found that flexibility in choosing their accommodation and travel options was business travellers’ most pressing post-pandemic need.

Business travellers’ priorities have changed; they now have a greater focus on their personal safety and sustainability, want a wider choice of in-trip products, need to be able to work effectively whilst in transit and stay in accommodation that provides a ‘home-from-home’ environment.

There are a number of reasons why corporate travel bookers will be taking a closer look at short-term rentals as an alternative accommodation:

  • Business travel is predicted to increase by 38 per cent this year. 
  • 43 per cent of employees are taking longer, multi-purpose business trips [Ibid]
  • 38 per cent of travel managers do not believe that hotels will be able to meet the demand for business travel in 2022.
  • Short-term rentals are the fastest growing segment in accommodation and forecast to account for 18 per cent of the European accommodation market by the end of 2022.

Short-term rentals can now offer a professional alternative for corporate travel bookers. According to Skift, 40 per cent of the short-term rental industry is professionally managed.

Merilee Karr, CEO of UnderTheDoormat Group, said: “There is a lucrative opportunity for the short-term rental industry to grow its footprint in the business travel market. Business travellers now have a greater say in where they stay and many of them have recognised the benefits that staying in apartments or homes can offer, especially for multi-night visits.

“Anyone operating in this sector should really make a concerted effort to appeal to corporate travel bookers who are definitely on the look-out for alternatives to the more conventional choices.

“Through the STAA, the industry has been working with accreditation organisation Quality in Tourism to set minimum operating standards in safety, cleanliness and compliance with legislation, to meet consumer expectations and the duty of care requirements needed to be included in companies’ travel programmes. In essence, we have ticked all the boxes to help increase the adoption of our sector in corporate business travel programmes.

“And it is about to become much easier for business travellers and their companies to access and book short-term rentals. That’s because the STAA has brought together more than 50 professionally-managed short term rentals operators onto one platform, TrustedStays.

“The quality accreditation and standards of all the companies on TrustedStays ensures that companies booking accommodation can meet their duty of care requirements, while offering a wider range of options to guests,” she added.

Host & Stay CEO Dale Smith said: “Business travellers are looking for more space. Although we’ve seen rates rise significantly over the last 12 months, short-term rentals can be very cost effective – especially if corporates are travelling in groups.

“A four-bedroom property shared between four colleagues is always going to be cheaper than four separate hotel rooms. Then there’s the opportunity to dine in rather than out, so the value proposition is better from a short-term rental than what we see from hotels,” he added.

Karr continued: “What this white paper identifies very clearly is that professionally run short-term rentals can play a key role for many companies booking accommodation for their staff who are travelling for business. With good accreditation and high standards coupled with flexibility and the appeal of more space for longer stays, added to the ease of access through TrustedStays, we are looking forward to working with many new customers.”

The full White Paper can be found here.

Karr recently spoke on ShortTermRentalz’ RockSTRz session discussing ‘Can traditional leisure businesses crack the business travel segment?’. Watch the full recording at this link.