Airbnb is making large strides into the business travel market. On Monday, the online home-sharing company revealed its newest booklet of local experiences, produced in partnership with the San Francisco Travel Association. Compiled with suggestions from Airbnb hosts, the Local List introduces neighborhood hotspots and unique activities to visitors, bringing more of the authentic experiences they crave in an effort to give “business travelers that little bit of home feeling while they’re on the road, ” said an Airbnb spokesperson.
San Francisco Travel Association is the first destination management organization to work with Airbnb and the partnership is “aimed at ensuring that visitor needs and industry standards within the ‘traditional’ and ‘sharing’economies are more closely aligned.”
Since announcing their partnership in July, the Local List is one of many more collaborations, says Jon Ballesteros, senior vice president of public policy for San Francisco Travel Association.
The move is a smart one, since Airbnb rolled out its business travel program earlier this year. For large conventions and events, alternative accommodations are becoming crucial in cities such as San Francisco. Ballesteros said Airbnb helps meet demands for guest accommodation in the Bay Area hub, which has a cap on the number of allowable hotel rooms.
The Local List
At Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters in the Mission District, members of Airbnb and San Francisco Travel Association listened to the way travel and tourism is evolving. Chief Marketing Office Jonathan Mildenhall told the audience that standard tourist attractions are beginning to lose their appeal for a growing number of travelers, especially Millennials. He said, “Millennials don’t want to ‘see’ when they travel, they want to ‘do’ when they travel.”
Tourism is one of San Francisco’s biggest economies, with approximately 18 million visitors coming to the city each year. Local businesses also greatly benefit from bookings made through Airbnb—the company estimates that 90 percent of hosts have made about 67,000 recommendations to their guests to visit local San Francisco favorites. According to an Airbnb spokesperson, “This collaboration will give every traveler coming to San Francisco the opportunity to live like a local and experience each of the city’s diverse neighborhoods. This includes neighborhood tourism tool kits for local merchants to connect visitors from across the globe to neighborhoods, and working with meeting and event planners to achieve peak attendance during conventions and big events.”
In the industrial modern space, neighborhood vendors proffered samples of main dishes and desserts. Rogue Nick’s Crispy Tacos skewered kabobs and meatballs for the event. The Mexican restaurant and bar offers private event space with audio/visual capability for up to 400. Old Skool Café plated a delicious melon gazpacho and peanut butter stew. The youth-run supper club is decked out in a 1920s vibe, and offers space for buyouts and special events. San Francisco’s at-risk youth run the fine-dining establishment, receiving valuable job training skills. The restaurants are two of more than 100 neighborhood-specific shops, stores and attractions mentioned in the booklet.