ollowing the Opening Night Celebration at Pier 48
for MPI’s 2015 World Education Congress (WEC),
Vanessa LaClair, CMP (MPI Northeastern New York
Chapter), returned to her hotel, swiped her key card
and perhaps placed a “Do Not Disturb” sign on her door and
scheduled a wake-up call for the morning—standard operating procedure for a traveling business professional, right?
LaClair, director of events and operations management for
the Independent Power Producers of New York, says the professional development budget her company provides can get
maxed out when up against high room rates—so she shops
“I had hoped to book with Airbnb for WEC—to save money
and not have to pay out of pocket,” she says. “But there comes
into play a security concern when traveling alone in a big city.
If you book in the block, then the convention knows where
you are, you know the people in the building and there’s a
sense of added security there. Booking a private room, shar-
ing a house with a complete stranger, makes me a bit nervous.
I also understand what goes into hotel contracts with regards
to room blocks and I want to be supportive when I travel for
LaClair has used Airbnb since early 2014, and already
has a stay booked next month—an entire apartment—for
the TCS New York City Marathon. So far, she hasn’t used
the service for business travel.
“I always check Airbnb when there’s business travel
coming up,” she says. “I like to know all my options before
I go anywhere—I’m a planner! So if the price is right and
it works to my advantage, I would most de;initely book
with Airbnb when attending a future professional event.”
Immediately prior to WEC, Adrian Segar, founder of
Conferences That Work, spent a few days in San Francisco
visiting his daughter. With a dearth of hotels in the neighborhood, he turned to Airbnb, a service that he ;irst tried
for an earlier visit almost two years ago. He’s since used
Airbnb more than a dozen times.
“It’s often available in places where there are very
few or no other accommodations,” Segar says. “On Air-
bnb I could ;ind places within a block or two of where my
daughter lived that were comparable or less expensive
than [more distant] hotels.”
With preference given to location and keeping
check on his travel budget, Segar also booked through
Due to surging hotel occupancy rates and the growing
“sharing economy” in demand-heavy San Francisco,
some World Education Congress attendees slept—
or considered doing so—in the homes of local residents.
BY MICHAEL PINCHERA