Monday, July 27, 2015

Business travel is being transformed by the sharing economy.
(Photo: Thinkstock)Sharing-economy companies such as Uber and Airbnb are
starting to make serious inroads into the $300-billion business travel market,
completely changing the way business travelers, well, do business.
 Last week, the house-sharing giant Airbnb announced a massive overhaul
to its Business Travel program that was launched in July 2014, in the hope of
increasing the visibility of an employee’s travel plans and spending.
And today, Concur Technologies — which provides travel and expense
management services to businesses across the country — is announcing
new partnerships with Lyft and HotelTonight, expanding its already extensive
offerings, which include Uber and Airbnb.
 It’s a reflection of a larger shift within the industry toward
the use of sharing-economy services instead of more traditional competitors.
"We are seeing a really big uptake in adoption of those products by business
travelers as they they add a ton of value and enhance productivity," Concur
executive vice president Tim MacDonald told World traveling club Travel.
 So what has driven this clear shift in business travel toward services
provided by the sharing-economy?While it appears that the millennial
generation has certainly been key in the adoption of these services within
corporations, they are not the ones driving the growth.
"What we have found is that these changes to the industry may be millennial
led, but it is not a millennial trend," says MacDonald.
"I think that what you are seeing is early adoption of these new tools
by that generation and then it is working its way up the generational ladder
within corporate America.
"
Related: How to Save Big Money on Business Travel
Millennial business travelers aren’t the only group using
sharing-economy services.
(Photo: Thinkstock)
According to the Global Business Travel Association, the
business travel industry is worth over $300 billion in the U.
S.
alone.
It is estimated that $175 million was spent globally by business travelers in
2013 on travel services procured through travel management companies such as
Concur, which has over 30 million users in the U.
S.
 Business travelers are expected to abide by specific policies put in
place by their employers, limiting their options and choices surrounding their
business travel.
These rules make partnerships between travel management companies like Concur
and the sharing-economy brands an essential part of the industry’s
growth.
And the only way in which brands like Uber, Lyft, or HotelTonight, can get a
foot in the door that gives access to these travelers.
 "Companies are [also] able to live up to their duty-of-care
responsibility, which…means they need to understand where their
employees are in the case of some kind of incident, whether that be an
earthquake or a terrorist attack," MacDonald explained.
"We can reach you and find out if you are ok and if not, provide assistance.
So these offerings are not [just] nice to have, they are things that
companies really have to do.
"
"Corporate travel is a big part of the travel pie; it’s worth a lot
of money," Airbnb co-founder and chief technology officer Nathan Blecharczyk
explained last week to Bloomberg.

Airbnb is playing catch up, with just 10 percent of its overall business
accounting to the business travel sector.
In the past, AirBnB had to manually invoice companies with spreadsheets
displaying employee room rental expenditures.
But with more than 250 companies enrolled in the program in the past year,
the dated manual system quickly became a problem.
The new system will be fully automated and offers companies a centralized
dashboard where they will be able to track employee travel plans and
expenditure.
Related: How Tech Is Changing the Way Millennials Do Business Travel
Established business travel providers need to adapt.
(Photo: Thinkstock)Uber, on the other hand, has had little problem stealing
market share from taxi companies on both the business and leisure travel sides
of the sector.
 
In the second quarter of this year, Uber took over from conventional
cabs as the most expensed form of ground transportation according to expense
management system provider, Certify.
Uber accounted for 55 percent of ground transport receipts processed by the
company compared to just 43 percent for taxis.
 "Established travel providers will need to adapt quickly or face further
market share erosion to the sharing economy," Certify CEO Robert Neveu said in
a statement.

Concur found from its own data that Uber registered a five-times
year-on-year growth between July 2014 and July 2015 among its business travel
clients.
Lyft, meanwhile, has seen seven-times growth, based on Concur’s data
analysis.
 But while business travelers might be quickly moving toward services
like Uber and Lyft, many employers still have reservations about the safety
and liability of these ride-share options.
Related: The Bizcation: The Ultimate Way to Enjoy Business Travel
Depending
on the city, the drivers aren’t necessarily regulated by government
taxi licensing authorities.
And while both Uber and Lyft insure drivers during paid rides and also
require drivers to carry personal auto insurance that covers them the rest of
the time, the policies regarding insurance protecting the passenger
aren’t always clear and they can vary from state to state, city to
city.
The growth of these services is also expected to expand into other types of
offerings to the business traveler, beyond just accommodation and transport.

"One of our biggest partners is not one that you would necessarily think of
when you think travel and that is Starbucks," shared MacDonald.
"Today I can go into the Starbucks app and I have two cards that I can
choose between.
If I choose my Concur card, for something at Starbucks, it automatically
shows up on my expense report.
We did that with Starbucks because we found that it was a very large category
on the expense report.
"With the "sharing" or "peer-to-peer" economy already referring to services as
varied as co-working spaces and even short-term bike rentals, these
discoveries will continue and companies like Concur will continuously update
their offerings to reflect the new demands.
WATCH: Anticarjacking Class? Sign Us Up! We Attend the Ultimate Driving
SchoolLet World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
and Pinterest.
 Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.
  A look at how business travel is being transformed by the sharing
economy.
.
"Companies are [also] able to live up to their duty-of-care responsibility,
which…means they need to understand where their employees are in the
case of some kind of incident, whether that be an earthquake or a terrorist
attack," MacDonald explained.
"We can reach you and find out if you are ok and if not, provide assistance.
So these offerings are not [just] nice to have, they are things that
companies really have to do.
"
"Corporate travel is a big part of the travel pie; it’s worth a lot
of money," Airbnb co-founder and chief technology officer Nathan Blecharczyk
explained last week to Bloomberg.

Airbnb is playing catch up, with just 10 percent of its overall business
accounting to the business travel sector.
In the past, AirBnB had to manually invoice companies with spreadsheets
displaying employee room rental expenditures.
But with more than 250 companies enrolled in the program in the past year,
the dated manual system quickly became a problem.
The new system will be fully automated and offers companies a centralized
dashboard where they will be able to track employee travel plans and
expenditure.
Related: How Tech Is Changing the Way Millennials Do Business Travel
Established business travel providers need to adapt.
(Photo: Thinkstock)Uber, on the other hand, has had little problem stealing
market share from taxi companies on both the business and leisure travel sides
of the sector.
 
In the second quarter of this year, Uber took over from conventional
cabs as the most expensed form of ground transportation according to expense
management system provider, Certify.
Uber accounted for 55 percent of ground transport receipts processed by the
company compared to just 43 percent for taxis.
 "Established travel providers will need to adapt quickly or face further
market share erosion to the sharing economy," Certify CEO Robert Neveu said in
a statement.

Concur found from its own data that Uber registered a five-times
year-on-year growth between July 2014 and July 2015 among its business travel
clients.
Lyft, meanwhile, has seen seven-times growth, based on Concur’s data
analysis.
 But while business travelers might be quickly moving toward services
like Uber and Lyft, many employers still have reservations about the safety
and liability of these ride-share options.
Related: The Bizcation: The Ultimate Way to Enjoy Business Travel
Depending
on the city, the drivers aren’t necessarily regulated by government
taxi licensing authorities.
And while both Uber and Lyft insure drivers during paid rides and also
require drivers to carry personal auto insurance that covers them the rest of
the time, the policies regarding insurance protecting the passenger
aren’t always clear and they can vary from state to state, city to
city.
The growth of these services is also expected to expand into other types of
offerings to the business traveler, beyond just accommodation and transport.

"One of our biggest partners is not one that you would necessarily think of
when you think travel and that is Starbucks," shared MacDonald.
"Today I can go into the Starbucks app and I have two cards that I can
choose between.
If I choose my Concur card, for something at Starbucks, it automatically
shows up on my expense report.
We did that with Starbucks because we found that it was a very large category
on the expense report.
"With the "sharing" or "peer-to-peer" economy already referring to services as
varied as co-working spaces and even short-term bike rentals, these
discoveries will continue and companies like Concur will continuously update
their offerings to reflect the new demands.
WATCH: Anticarjacking Class? Sign Us Up! We Attend the Ultimate Driving
SchoolLet World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
and Pinterest.
 Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.
 A look at how business travel is being transformed by the sharing
economy.

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