At its 2016 OpenAir conference in San Francisco, Airbnb today announced the launch of third-party bookings — a way to simplify business travel.
“This makes it really easy to book on a colleague’s behalf, and it clearly designates to the host who will be coming to stay with them,” Airbnb vice president of engineering Mike Curtis said.
The feature will also let you tinker with reservations along the person who made it for you. Both you and the person who booked it will be able to exchange messages with the host, Curtis said.
Airbnb will be rolling out the feature to companies “over time,” an Airbnb spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.
Introducing new capability for business travel does make sense for Airbnb to do. Google, Morgan Stanley, and Salesforce already use Airbnb for that function. (Disclosure: So does VentureBeat!) The company surely handles a lot of vacation travel, but in fact the first Airbnb stay was a business trip, Curtis said, and business travel has got to be a considerable percentage of revenue for the 7-year-old company at this point. Large companies often rely on people who are dedicated to handling travel reservations, and this new feature will better accommodate that type of process.
Also today Airbnb announced the launch of collaborative wish lists, which certainly can be used for business travel. Also new: multi-party reviews, which let hosts add reviews that apply to every single person who participated in a stay, not just the person who booked it.
Update on June 9: Added information on availability.