As many as 28% of travel managers now include sharing economy providers in their travel policy – a three-fold increase on last year.
More than half (56%) have used Uber more in the last 12 months and 17% have increased bookings through Airbnb over the same period.
The findings are part if a Business Travel Show poll of 178 European travel managers investigating the growth of the sharing economy within corporate travel.
Nearly half of buyers – 48% – believe their travellers use sharing economy ‘interrupters’ when booking independently, more than double last year.
More than a third (37%) believe they offer a benefit to their travel programmes, compared to 27% previously, with the greatest drivers behind the take up being value for money and choice.
But a quarter of buyers maintain that the sharing economy is a threat thanks to the potential impact on traveller tracking and security.
Nikki Rogan, global travel manager for Symantec UK – a senior buyer on the Business Travel Show advisory board – said: “Business travellers who book directly are increasingly using alternative providers.
“As a result, buyers are now taking note and starting to include them more in policy and programmes – it’s just one part of the move towards listening to our travellers and offering them a more personalised offering.”
Show group commercial director Sam Cande said: “This time last year, buyers were curious but very cautious about the sharing economy and many visited the Business Travel Show to find out more before even considering including them in their programme.
“This year, they have a much better understanding of what ‘interrupters’ can offer their travellers and organisations and – as proved by these stats – are more open-minded about how sharing economy suppliers can be incorporated into their travel programmes alongside more traditional suppliers.”
Airbnb UK and Ireland sales manager Andrew Ratcliffe said: “Travel managers are increasingly engaging with Airbnb to learn about the business tools we offer and the benefits their travellers enjoy with Airbnb for business. The show is a great opportunity to engage with buyers and connect again with our clients.”
Airbnb and Uber are exhibiting at the Business Travel Show in 2017.