Airbnb recently bought over Gaest.com, a small online marketplace focused on meeting spaces for short-term rentals. Similarly to Airbnb, hosts on Gaest.com can list their spaces to reach a network of business professionals, and can optionally provide add-ons and other services to enhance their meetings.
According to a statement, the acquisition will “fuel [its] vision of helping all professionals feel a sense of belonging at work by connecting them with the unique spaces they need for meetings and events”.
“Bringing in a leadership team with strong domain knowledge allows us to accelerate our work in this area, and more importantly Gaest.com and Airbnb share a vision of helping every space owner become entrepreneurs through sharing their spaces with those who need it,” said David Holyoke, global head of Airbnb for Work, in a statement.
In September last year, Airbnb for Work announced “exponential growth” with 700,000 companies said to have signed up to book their accommodation through the platform. The platform marked a 3x growth in bookings on Airbnb for Work from 2015 to 2016, and again from 2016 to 2017.
The company will also introduce new offerings including team-building activities, Homes on Airbnb for offsites and meetings, and new options for people relocating for work.
Given the growth of Airbnb for Work, this acquisition could signal a more aggressive shift towards meetings especially with research suggesting more meeting planners are booking venues online. In the same vein of hotel bookings for leisure trips, bookings for meeting venues are rapidly moving online with some 80% of the market projected to be moved online in the next three years. Online bookings are also found to be especially common for small meetings, based on a study by Meetingsbooker.com last year.
Meanwhile, Airbnb for Events launched last year but hasn’t quite picked up. The feature aims to help organisers find accommodation for attendees near their event venue but event professionals have pointed out that it dismisses the “hospitality chaos” that would ensue if attendee touch points are scattered across the city. Safety, risk management, and consistency of services are also issues.
Airbnb declined to comment for this story.