Airbnb expands Business Travel program worldwide, adds dashboard

The online-based vacation rental hub first launched its Business Travel program roughly one year ago.

Distancing itself even further from the days when it was just a step above couch surfing, Airbnb is stepping up its game in catering to business travelers at companies of all sizes worldwide with a more comprehensive product suite for its Business Travel program.

Among the new features are a reporting tab for managing booking reports for an entire organization, an employees tab for managing and approving trips, and an activity tab for cataloging finer details such as the number of people in each party along with an interactive map.

All of these functions and more are accessible via a new dashboard with an integrated payments system.

Airbnb hosts listings for accommodations ranging from yurts to chateaus (as well as standard private rooms and apartments) in more than 34,000 cities across 190 countries.

Companies that sign up for Airbnb's Business Travel program starting today through September 1 will be eligible for a special promotion pitching $50 in Airbnb credit individual business travelers for use on their first corporate travel bookings.

The online-based vacation rental hub first launched its Business Travel program last July with the initial allure of simplifying bookings, billings and auto-populating expense reports via Concur.

Since then, it has grown to count more than 250 companies as participants, including Google, Facebook and SoundCloud. Some of the first tech industry partners tapped for collaboration collaboration were Salesforce.com, Evernote, Eventbrite, and Lyft.

Overall, the San Francisco-headquartered operation boasted it has already seen approximately 700 percent growth for its Business Travel program in the last year.

Airbnb has been catering to businesses and third-party developers in other means as well. Last month, the travel wunderkind announced amid its annual engineering summit that it was open sourcing two of its homegrown data mining products: Airflow and Aerosolve.

The bigger opportunity of the two is arguably Aerosolve, a machine learning package for big data engine Apache Spark designed to improve how people interpret complex data sets.

With the opportunity for quantifiable trends and insights in real-time and being able to offer that nearly immediately to its users, machine learning could provide quite the edge for Airbnb in the travel industry at large.