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Why Airbnb and WeWork Are Partnering Up

A partnership of Airbnb and WeWork launched an initial phase of a new bed-and-work pilot program.

Road warriors traveling to New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, London or Sidney can now book lodging accommodations and workspaces simultaneously through the Airbnb business app or web channel.

A partnership of Airbnb and WeWork launched an initial phase of a new bed-and-work pilot program last week in these five cities, because they are the most heavily traveled locations for business travelers. Currently, there are no plans to expand the program to additional cities.

The way the program works is that once a traveler books lodging in one of these cities through Airbnb, he/she is offered the option to book workspace at a nearby WeWork location by clicking on the WeWork icon, notes an Airbnb spokesman. WeWork has 15 locations in Los Angeles, six in Chicago, 43 in New York, 10 in D.C., three in Sidney and 23 (plus another opening soon) in London.

According to Chip Conley, Airbnb’s head of global hospitality, nearly 10 percent of Airbnb customers are traveling on business.

Visiting travelers can plug-in and work in open WeWork spaces, such as indoor lounge areas or outdoor spaces, for $50 per day and have access to a conference room for $25 per hour, but the first day, as well as one hour of conference room time, is free.

“Since it is an early test, we have not made arrangements around revenue sharing,” says Airbnb’s spokesperson. However, “During this pilot, WeWork is covering the cost of the free or discounted co-working space.”

Both companies are part of the sharing economy and their missions align in various ways, according to the WeWork spokesperson. “WeWork is not just a place to work,” she says. “The underlying mission is to create a collective community in beautifully designed workspaces that inspire collaboration.”

According to Jon Slavet, WeWork general manager for the West Coast, 50 percent to 60 percent of WeWork members end up doing projects or some type of business together. Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky explained in a statement that his company is not just about renting out a space to travelers, but rather providing a home away from home—“a place where you belong.”

Airbnb’s relationship with WeWork is the latest addition to travel services aimed at providing business travelers with a seamless experience. In 2014 the company formed a partnership with Concur, a global provider of expense management solutions and services. Concur’s TripLink integrates Airbnb listings with a solution that lets employees book travel directly with hospitality providers and automatically populates their expense reports, while insuring that duty of care—incurrence of expenses that are ordinary and reasonable—requirements are met. This service also gives business travel managers visibility into itineraries and expenses in one consolidated view.

Airbnb also launched Business Travel on Airbnb to provide company travel managers access to Airbnb listings and travel services and allow them to book lodging directly through an Airbnb app. The company initially worked closely with Salesforce to shape its business travel approach. Now more than 30 companies have signed up to work with Airbnb, including Evernote, Eventbrite and Lyft.

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