At first glance, booking a rental home might seem like a good alternative to save on corporate travel costs, but taking a closer look tells a different story. Business travelers simply don’t have the bandwidth for being inconvenienced if their rental doesn’t match up to expectations. Every corporate traveler needs to consider these risks before deciding on accommodations from those in the sharing economy sector.
1. Your Options in Case of Inconvenience are Limited
To risk stating the obvious, rentals are people’s homes, not hotels. In the event something unexpected goes wrong, travelers are completely dependent on their hosts for a quick response.
Do you have the time in your travel plans to wait for a plumbing issue to be resolved? If there are unexpected Wi-Fi connectivity problems or power outages, are you prepared to use up phone data because your host has nowhere to relocate you?
Whereas agencies such as Corporate Traveler can offer 24/7 emergency assistance, it’s unrealistic to expect a rental host to provide solutions for anything that could interrupt your plans.
2. You’re Responsible for Your Own Safety
Rental accommodations are not evaluated in person for safety or accurate portrayal in descriptions and photos. Instead, owners rely on travelers to report improper accommodations and to take their own safety measures.
When you trust your TMC to handle your business travel plans, your team benefits from our expertise in international travel and from our longstanding high-quality supplier relationships. You can have peace of mind that your team remains safe and has access to our Travel Managers anytime.
3. Your Booking is Never Actually Set in Stone
Cancellation policies are one of the major drawbacks of booking a shared economy accommodation for business travel. Hosts can cancel accommodations at any time, even within hours of the confirmed check-in time. While in most cases, they face minor penalties for cancelling a confirmed booking, they are nevertheless not obligated to relocate their guests.
Will you be prepared to pick up the pieces of an itinerary and find new accommodations in the event a host cancels with almost no notice or doesn’t show up at all? Will you have enough room in your budget to arrange new accommodations while you’re liaising with the host or site for a refund? Wasted time is wasted money, and your business travel program should be as seamless as possible to maximize savings.
4. Your Host Doesn’t Have Much Accountability
Although scams are rare, unfortunately, they do happen. Many sites advertise that becoming a host is “easy”, and anyone can start hosting in just a few online steps with no in-person verification.
Instances of suspicious circumstances include fraudulent requests for money, accommodations that defy zoning laws, operating without the property owner’s knowledge, or misrepresenting in their descriptions and photos.
Anyone who books a rental option should take extra precaution against dangerous situations. Only communicate and conduct transactions through the rental website or app. Moreover, it is imperative to read reviews with care. Avoid hosts and accommodations with fewer than 50 reviews in popular neighborhoods, and pay special attention to mediocre reviews, which tend to list both pros and cons.
If you need to save on business travel (and who doesn’t?), there are smarter ways to do so. Corporate Traveler saves you both time and money, thanks to our negotiated rates with preferred partners, forward-thinking technologies, and 24/7 travel assistance. And since we keep you in the loop with your personalized Client Savings Report, you’ll always see the difference Corporate Traveler makes. Contact us for a complimentary analysis of your travel program.