I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual Global Business Travel Convention in Orlando, FL. It seems that each year there is more and more focus on the “sharing economy.” Twenty-fourteen brought a lot of buzz as Uber made their Convention debut on the trade show floor. This year, Uber was back again, joined by other “sharing” companies like Airbnb and Lyft. In fact, the Convention theme this year was #sharing.
One general session in particular focused on the number of sharing economy services that are available to travelers and introduced many people in the room to the term “bleisure,” which is the concept of combining business and leisure. The common consensus from the session panel was that investment in technology is extremely important in delivering service to both business and leisure travelers.
Having said that, there is a lot of talk about the sharing economy being a “disrupter” to managed travel and how to overcome the challenges the sharing economy brings. In fact, over the last few years Concur has announced TripLink partnerships with Airbnb, Hotel Tonight, Uber, and Lyft. Recent data by Skift shows that 21% of millennial travelers are in favor of using the sharing economy for accommodations while only 10% of non-millennials would consider this model. Cars had a slightly higher usage with 34% of millennials and 15% of non-millennials using vendors like Uber and Lyft. Safety, product quality, and service were among travelers’ top concerns. Surprisingly few of the sampling of travelers surveyed were concerned about not receiving loyalty program benefits or points.
How well do you feel your travel program is embracing the sharing economy? Has this proven to be a disrupter for your travel program?