Airbnb isn’t just for vacations anymore, according to a new study by Concur, a business expense reporting service. Concur analyzed expense reports over two years, from the second quarter of 2014 to Q2 2016, and found an especially big jump from 2015 to 2016. The number of organizations using Airbnb grew 32% in that time, and spending increased 42% year-over-year. That begs a little perspective, though: Business spending on traditional hotels is still more than 250 times greater.
A lot of the growth might be fueled by times when regular hotels are swamped. San Francisco, Airbnb’s home city, does the most business bookings, and they soar 600% during Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce—the city’s biggest tech convention. San Francisco takes second place to Austin in the first quarter of 2015 and 2016, however, due to the mob of techies and media folk heading to South by Southwest. Despite San Francisco’s reputation for being pricey, New York still has it beat, with an average cost of $271 per expense report on the Hudson vs. $252 by The Bay. Chicago is the cheapest of the major business destinations for Airbnb, at just $151 on average.
Small and medium-sized businesses (up to 1,000 employees) are increasingly using Airbnb, probably to save money, reckons Concur. Business travelers also may want “to find a more authentic local experience,” says the company, especially those tacking on extra time for vacation.