Why Airbnb wants to target more executives with its new business model
With over 1,000,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries, Airbnb has steadily been growing since its inception in 2008.
Originally launched as a home-rental company, Airbnb launched a corporate program last summer and now has over 250 companies signed with them to provide accommodations, according to Time. Google, Salesforce.com, SoundCloud and Vox Media are among those already on board.
RELATED TOPIC: Four tips for stress-free travel
In the hopes of connecting with more businesses, Airbnb has recently rolled out a better dashboard of tools, dubbed Airbnb for Business, which will help company managers keep better track of employee bookings and billing.
Airbnb is currently valued at more than $25 billion and is expected to make $900 million in revenue this year, according to Fortune, so going after the business travel market is more than likely to add another stream of recurring revenue as companies book travel fairly frequently.
RELATED TOPIC: Mobile dependence and the modern business traveler
Airbnb says about 10 percent of rentals are from businesses, comparable to what it was a year ago. Still, the company sees a big opportunity. U.S. business travel spending is expected to reach $302.7 billion by the end of 2015, and climb 5.4 percent next year, according to research from the Global Business Travel Association and Visa.
“Corporate travel is a big part of the travel pie; it's worth a lot of money,” Nathan Blecharczyk, chief technology officer and co-founder of Airbnb, told Bloomberg. “We're further along there on our leisure side than our business side.”
RELATED TOPIC: Top 10: Travel tips for business travelers
Click here to read the latest edition of Business Review USA!
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”