Airbnb last week acquired a platform called Urbandoor that offers extended stays for corporate clients.
Founded in 2015, Urbandoor differentiates itself not just through its focus on business travelers, but also by the fact it deals directly with multifamily building owners instead of renters. The company goes directly to big real estate firms like Greystar, and has convinced them that extended stay rentals are the way forward.
Airbnb has two goals with this acquisition. First, it wants to boost the supply of properties available on its Airbnb for Work business, which is expanding at a rapid clip. This segment now accounts for 15% of all bookings on Airbnb, and has seen its revenue grow threefold from 2015 to 2016, and again from 2016 to 2017. More than 500,000 companies now use its services to plan business travel for their employees.
And so Airbnb’s problem is one of supply, rather than demand. The company’s corporate clients are looking for more luxurious properties with amenities such as security, pools and fitness centers, especially when it comes to extended stays. These kinds of things aren’t all that common with regular Airbnb rentals.
Urbandoor can certainly help with the supply, as it has rooms in apartment communities in more than 1,500 cities in 60 countries.
Airbnb’s second goal is more complex. Despite its success, the company still faces problems working with some landlords and property owners. By working with multifamily building owners in the long stay business, it may also be able to convince these people to think about setting aside some of their apartments for short stays as well.
“We started Urbandoor because we wanted to connect traveling and relocating professionals with the right apartment every time, anywhere,” said Urbandoor’s cofounder Erik Eccles in a 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.”
Urbandoor’s entire workforce will move to Airbnb as part of the deal.