Perception of sharing economy improves among business travel buyers

Perception of sharing economy improves among business travel buyers

More than half of business travel buyers now view sharing economy providers as a benefit to their travel programme, a significant increase on last year.

A poll of 243 buyers by the Business Travel Show, found 58% agreeing that alternative accommodation and transport providers such as Airbnb and Uber are a good thing.

This compares to less than half (37%) 12 months ago.

The number of buyers who consider the sharing economy as a threat has subsequently dropped – from a quarter to 18% – and just 17% remain undecided, against to 38% last year.

Business Travel Show event director David Chapple said: “No one likes change, and the introduction of the sharing economy to business travel has been a big upheaval for some travel managers.

“Compared to hotel use, for example, the take up of alternative accommodation providers is still small, but it is certainly growing.

“Attitudes are changing and travel managers are finding the idea of using sharing economy providers less threatening.

“They are also more appreciative that travellers enjoy the flexibility and convenience they provide.”

He added: “Some travel managers are still concerned about potential duty of care issues, and it’s sensible of them to put travellers first.

“But, in a few years’ time, I’m sure we won’t even be having this conversation and Airbnb will be considered just another accommodation option, much like serviced apartments are today.”

An Uber for Business spokesman said: “These results affirm what we’re already hearing from the businesses we serve – that integrating services like Uber into their travel programmes is a win-win, for both traveller and travel manager.

“We’re excited to continue to work with these partners so they can harness the full potential of on-demand technologies.”

Airbnb and Uber are both exhibiting at Business Travel Show in London next month.

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