Airbnb acquires Urbandoor to capitalize on business travellers

by | Aug 26, 2019 | News

Airbnb’s acquisition of Urbandoor builds on the solutions Airbnb offers multifamily housing owners and operators.

Urbandoor’s network includes apartment communities in more than 1,500 cities spread throughout 60 countries.

Airbnb has slowly and steadily disrupted the hospitality market, to the point it has started to concern some major hotel companies.

One area where traditional hotels have continued to dominate, however, is with business travellers. Airbnb is working to change that, and in order to do so, the company has now acquired Urbandoor, a platform that offers extended stays to corporate clients, which has given it a focus on business guests since it was founded back in 2015.

The terms of this deal were not disclosed. It should, however, also be noted that Urbandoor has long negotiated directly with multi-family owners rather than with renters. What this means is that Urbandoor essentially started out by going to big real estate companies as well as building owners in order to convince them that extended stay rentals are a winning proposition.

Airbnb’s first goal

With this recent acquisition, Airbnb has two main goals.

The first is to increase the supply that it offers on the Airbnb for Work side of its business, which has already been growing at a rapid pace. Airbnb for Work, which was originally launched as Airbnb for Business, is basically the corporate side of Airbnb, and it accounts for 15 percent of bookings on the platform.

This service has grown three-fold from both 2015 to 2016 and again from 2016 to 2017. Airbnb reports that as many as 500,000 companies are now using the service to plan business travel, which is a hefty number, indeed. What this means is that there is a healthy demand from corporate clients.

The problem has now become, however, that Airbnb is struggling to subsequently match on the supply side, especially given that corporate clients are typically looking for amenities such as gyms, especially when it comes to extended stays.

Urbandoor can help here, given that its own footprint includes apartment communities in more than 1,500 cities spread throughout 60 countries.

Airbnb’s second goal

Airbnb’s second major goal for this acquisition is to forge better working relationships with the building owners involved here.

Urbandoor has existing relationships with multifamily owners for the purposes of extended stays. As such, the acquisition gives Airbnb a change to convince those parties to consider the value of setting aside their units for shorter stays, which would allow Airbnb to potentially bypass working with renters in some scenarios.

“We started Urbandoor because we wanted to connect traveling and relocating professionals with the right apartment every time, anywhere,” said Urbandoor cofounder Erik Eccles in a prepared statement.

“Joining the Airbnb family will help us make good on our goals and expand our work with multifamily and corporate housing partners to bring even more great places to stay to Airbnb travelers,” he added.

The Urbandoor team will be joining Airbnb, and there are currently no plans to sunset the Urbandoor brand.

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