Businesses turn to Airbnb

Businesses turn to Airbnb

Lauren Hauber has moved past the days of trudging down the hotel corridor with an ice bucket.

Like a growing number of business travelers, Ms. Hauber, a San Francisco resident, and her co-workers have started staying in apartments and houses managed through Airbnb, which in July started a site aimed at attracting more business travelers. The service allows travelers — business and leisure — to rent space for short periods.

Ms. Hauber and two colleagues rented a three-bedroom condominium in downtown Austin, Tex., for this week’s SXSW Eco conference. The apartment was less expensive and more convenient than hotels in the area, she said, and it had other benefits.

“I really like having a kitchen,” said Ms. Hauber, who does business development for Wildlife Works, an environmental firm in Mill Valley, Calif. “A lot of times they’ll have washers and dryers. I don’t feel like I’m losing anything by using an Airbnb.”

Companies large and small, increasingly focused on budgets, are starting to look beyond hotels to apartments and houses.

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