Bricks and mortar travel management company, Orbit, is partnering with Airbnb for business travellers.
The two companies say the partnership is the first of its kind in New Zealand and will provide the opportunity for Orbit clients to potentially save up to an average of $49 a night when their staff book an Airbnb over traditional hotels.
Traditional travel agents are increasingly turning to online suppliers for partnerships and Orbit World Travel's Wellington managing director Paul Rennie said his firm was responding to customer demand.
The firm had been working towards a formal partnership for several years, spurred by hotel bed shortages in the main centres at some times of the year.
It particularly suited business people or those in the education sector who needed to stay in centres for extended periods.
Hotels have complained about Airbnb hosts not facing the same tax or regulatory obligations that they do.
Rennie said the Airbnb properties business people were of a higher standard than others.
''It doesn't impact alot on our hotel partners. It they're full they can't supply the accommodation anyway. It's just that it's added flexibility to customers.''
If you're staying one or two nights hotels have the convenience - it's horses for courses.''
Business people often wanted to stay outside city centres where hotels were concentrated as businesses they were dealing with are increasingly spread to other parts of cities.
''You can't put your head in the sand and say this type of product is not around and not offer it to customers. We've got to deliver what the customer wants,'' said Rennie.
Orbit World Travel has annual sales of over $500 million and more than 1000 clients.
He said about 4000 to 5000 bookings a year would be with Airbnb.
Airbnb for Work Asia Pacific regional head Alvan Aiau Yong said that through this partnership more Kiwi business travellers would have access to homes and boutique hotels in more than 191 countries and regions including New Zealand.
The top five Airbnb for Work destinations in New Zealand are Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga and Hamilton.
He said ''work-ready'' listings were popular for business trips feature everything from designated desk and study areas, Wi-Fi and private bathrooms.
Laundry facilities and fully-equipped kitchens also helped business travellers feel at home when on the road, Aiau Yong said.
One New Zealand client, Lowry Gladwell regularly uses Airbnb for Work and recently returned from a business trip the United States.
"I find it particularly handy when needing to find somewhere to stay that's near the office – this is important when premises aren't located centrally. I generally find Airbnb listings are much bigger than standard hotel rooms, and having access to things like a decent lounge and outdoor area makes a stay way more comfortable,." said Gladwell, senior legal counsel at New Zealand tech company, Vend,
Business travel represents around 15 per cent of Airbnb's turnover but Aiau Yong was unable to supply revenue figures for the New Zealand market.
In New Zealand it has 41,600 listings, including 11,000 in Auckland.
About 34 per cent of business travellers in Airbnb properties in New Zealand are from overseas.
Aion Yong said his company wasn't trying to put hotels out of business but was filling a gap in the market.
''We don't think for us to win anybody has to lose. The market is big enough.''
Airbnb is 11 years old and now has five million listings in more than 350 city regions.
Although still a private company, Airbnb has an estimated value of $52 billion.
Booking.com's 10 years in NZ
Accommodation aggregation giant Booking.com — operating in New Zealand for a decade — is part of a $123 billion company, but one regional boss acknowledges not everybody plays by its rules.
The company operates in 230 countries, with 20 million listings, and charges hotels a commission of about 15 per cent for bookings through its site.
Some customers use the site as a directory service — seeing what accommodation is available and what price it is before contacting hotels directly to try to negotiate a better deal, cutting Booking.com out of the loop.
Its vice-president and managing director for Asia Pacific, Angel Llull Mancas, said that might happen and that was one reason Booking.com always aimed to have the best rates.
"At the end of the day you don't control the decisions of the customer — that's the beauty of e-commerce," he said.
Hotel chains are pushing back against online travel agents such as Booking.com, with a stronger online presence of their own.
But Llull Mancas said a presence on his company's site gave hotels exposure to a huge global presence.
"If you want to go direct to a brand then there is a market for that. I think at the end of the day what you want to do is attract as much traffic as possible."
Booking.com is part of the Booking Holdings group of companies, which includes Priceline.com, Kayak, Agoda.com, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable.
In this country it works with more than 10,000 properties and has about 20 million listings in 230 countries.
Booking Holdings' latest financial result showed it handled travel bookings worth $37b for the first quarter of this year.