With the growing surge of apps that allow users to share services, business travel has been made more accessible and profitable for consumers and businesses alike.
The sharing economy, which works by driving value from all parties, is causing dramatic changes to the sector, according to Concur, the Employee Spending Management provider.
Matt Goss, ANZ managing director, Concur, says, “Home-sharing services like Airbnb are increasing in popularity among business travellers. However, the rate of growth is quite phenomenal. Concur’s data recorded a dramatic 56% growth in sharing economy service usage from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016. On average, business travellers stay five nights when home sharing, compared to three nights when staying in a traditional hotel.”
The shift in the economy is now changing the format of businesses and the travel that is associated with business. Many of the big providers, like Uber and Airbnb, are leveraging the increased demand from business travellers, expanding with services specifically attuned to the business market. Uber for Business, for example, offers direct billing, as well as a variety of airline partnerships that let users book their air and car travel with the same app.
Matt Goss says, “In addition to travel and accommodation, partnerships that include travel and expense management providers, like Concur, can deliver real-time spend data for travel and/or finance managers, and help prepopulate expense reports. This saves time and reduces the chance of errors when claiming expenses.”
These partnerships make it easier for businesses to coordinate their preferred travel and accommodation providers for staff, and to process approvals and expenses quickly, and in line with business policies.
Millennials are leading the charge in adopting ridesharing and accommodation services. They are attracted by the convenience, savings, and custom experience that sharing-economy services can provide. But the rate of adoption amongst other workers is increasing as businesses become more aware of the benefits of sharing services, and instigate travel and expense policies that embrace these services.
Matt Goss says, “Using services like Airbnb can save costs on both lodging and transportation, as business travellers may be able to stay closer to their worksite, eliminating the need to rent cars."
Empowering employees to use economy-sharing services that are in line with business travel and expense policies encourages creative solutions for staying within budget.
“At Concur we find more organisations are taking advantage of the trend towards sharing, as it delivers a win-win for both the organisation and their employees. It helps cut costs and increases employee satisfaction. By integrating sharing economy services into business travel and accommodation policies, organisations can deliver the most rewarding business travel experiences, supported by efficient expense claim processing, which is in line with organisational policy," says Goss.