Abta 2015: Peer-to-peer sector set for rapid growth

Abta 2015: Peer-to-peer sector set for rapid growth

The growth in the sharing economy will see a dramatic surge in the peer-to-peer business sector, the Abta Travel Convention heard.

The next decade will see 30% growth a year, with the value of peer-to-peer companies estimated to hit $335 billion by 2025 against $15 billion in 2013.

The forecast came from PwC partner David Trunkfield (pictured) who disclosed that 17 peer-to-peer companies worldwide are now worth more than 1 billion dollars each, including a number in travel.

He highlighted Airbnb as being larger than the biggest traditional hotel chains while others continue to grow exponentially.

That growth is unlikely to be pushed off course despite headwinds such as increased regulations, safety issues and taxation, according to Trunkfield.

He advised established travel businesses to seek to protect their position by lobbying to neutralise the threat of the emerging sharing economy businesses, engaging with them and entering into the market as well as Avis has done.

Hugo Jenkins, global head of sales for high end city centre home rental firm OneFineStay outlined how his business started embracing the trade two years ago by working with agents and paying commission.

The trade now represents one of the largest marketing channels for the business which manages 2,500 properties in London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles and is “crucial” to its long-term success, Jenkins said, citing the third party endorsement provided by agents.

The chief executive of easyCar, Richard Laughton, also predicted that sharing economy businesses would have a positive effect on the travel industry over the next few years as increased supply triggers more demand.

The firm’s easyCarClub car sharing arm is expanding as consumers gain more trust in the concept.

The overall business has seen 55% growth year-on-year in London with more than half of that coming from peer-to-peer rentals, he explained.

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