Airbnb’s local boss says the short-term rental giant is looking to grow its “working relationship” with travel agents, and the introduction of a commission model is a real possibility.
Speaking at Travel DAZE 2021 earlier this week, Susan Wheeldon said agents already use Airbnb in a number of ways both in the corporate and leisure space, and that the company wants to forge stronger ties with this sector of the travel industry.
“We previously partnered with Flight Centre with their travel group to offer Airbnb accommodation to their business travellers, and we always welcome those partnership opportunities,” she said.
“It’s really important that we can encourage and empower travel agents to offer Airbnb as just one of the options to their customer base.
“And we get great feedback from travel agents who have woven in an Airbnb stay and experience for an itinerary for a guest that also obviously comprises some of the more traditional accommodation options.
“We work really closely with travel agents so they can better understand how to use our platform and have familiarity with our landmark properties, and particularly that luxury end of the market as well.”
And while Airbnb doesn’t currently offer a commission model in place for agents, Wheeldon said it was “certainly something that we’re looking at”.
“It’s worked really well for our business product, so definitely a point of interest for us,” she said.
“Like all good ideas, we feed them into San Fran and then we hope to push them into the priority line, so I need to wait on what they come back with.
“But, it’s really important that we work closely with travel agencies and, in fact, a conversation I had with our head of comms was around how can we get more travel agents involved in our press trips so they really understand what are the types of things that we offer, why there’s value to their client base and then how we can help them to build out some of those itineraries that give their client base a really unique stay that they can’t get anywhere else.”
During her Travel DAZE session, Airbnb’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand also spoke about the company’s proactive focus on working more closely with destination management organisations locally during the COVID-19 pandemic to help drive recovery.
Wheeldon also shed some light on Airbnb’s journey through the pandemic and the leadership lessons she’s learnt along the way, as well as some of the trends and habits the short-term rental player has seen.
You can watch Wheeldon’s Travel DAZE session in full, on demand HERE.