Technological and macroeconomic changes spurred by the pandemic have created a generation of remote workers that are not restricted by being office-bound. Airbnb has now banked on this change becoming permanent, allowing the company to potentially take a majority share in a fledgling market segment.
As Airbnb continues to experience solid recovery from the pandemic with its ‘strongest quarter ever’ in Q3 2021, the company has now acknowledged that technologies such as Zoom and increased flexibility from employers will make remote working permanent for many. According to GlobalData*, more than half of global respondents (55%) have either ‘started’, ‘continued’ or are ‘more frequently’ working at home because of the pandemic.
Having the option to work remotely means that many employees can work from any location, whether this is domestically or internationally. Airbnb can offer a home away from home for travellers while offering a better remote working experience in comparison to a hotel.
Small changes to attract a market with big potential
It is evident that Airbnb is placing a bet on remote working. Announced in November 2021, the company outlined several new features that will increase its attractiveness to remote workers, such as creating more flexible search parameters for longer stays well in advance, verifying Wi-Fi speeds to ensure virtual meetings are problem-free, and enabling better translation to ensure international remote workers know exactly what amenities they will receive during their stay.
These small changes will combine to increase Airbnb’s attractiveness to remote workers, especially in relation to its new Wi-Fi verification feature. The need for a strong Wi-Fi connection is paramount for remote workers and this change could be the most impactful in terms of increasing market penetration.
Remote working looks to be here to stay
According to a live poll from GlobalData**, 24% of respondents stated that they will never be returning to the office or will continue to work remotely. This is a significant chunk of the global population sample gathered, illustrating that the remote working travel market will continue to grow and is here to stay.
Airbnb’s increased focus on remote workers looks to be a shrewd strategy as many employees now either choose – or are told – to carry on working at home permanently. Offering the chance to choose longer stays at an earlier point, ensuring reliable Wi-Fi speeds and enabling better translation will allow the company to stamp its authority on the emerging remote working market.
*GlobalData’s Q3 2021 Consumer Survey
** Live GlobalData poll – ‘By when do you anticipate at least 50% of employees will be returning to the office?’ – 4,886 responses as of 16 November 2021