Sharing economy revolution: what are its effects for business travel?

If it is true, as it is, that sharing economy is now a widespread procedure in leisure tourism – just observe the success of giants such as Uber or Airbnb – what happens in the business travel market? And above all, how do business travellers and travel managers pose themselves infant of these new possibilities? in short, is the sharing economy truly a valid option for those who travel for business?

AirPlus International, a company specialised in payment and analysis systems for business travellers and for company expenses, has asked over 2,000 people in 24 Countries in the world – 847 managers for travels of their respective companies and 1,158 business travellers – show how today’s subject is at the centre of discussions. The research throws light first of all on the different attitude of travel managers compared to that to business travellers. If on the one hand there are those who plan trips is worried about safety of the shared services and the lack of uniformity with company policies, those travelling for business is always more and more attracted by their use. Companies show a double sided attitude towards sharing economy. They are surely aware of the advantages of this offer: first of all the practicality of booking rapidly even through mobile devices and “traceless payment”, which frees travellers from having to pay at that moment; aspects that contribute to a larger satisfaction of the travellers and that unite to the potential economic advantages offered solutions of sharing economy. On the other hand the possible risks that travellers can encounter are worrisome: ofter insurance coverage undertaken do not incorporate this kind of service or those who distribute it rarely has a license too, which places travellers in potential dangers and creates problems of compliance with the company policies. A further complication is made by the difficult management of the travel report and the expense notes generated by using these services, that rarely are compatible with the digital processes used in the companies. The use of different services providers to the usual ones can make economy of scales more difficult.

Different, according to the brands they belong too, are the behaviours of the same companies: for example the United States, nation of the main big in sharing economy, are found only half way through the list among users of this servers. Italy is an example in countertrend compared to the main European countries: 38% of travellers through Italy, according to the survey declares intact that the use of shared services is allowed by their company. In general, business travellers have a positive approach: two interviewed on three would like to be able to open a complaint more often. What they do appreciate most are contained costs (82% of those answering) and safety (78%) that contribute to make the travel experience more pleasant (84%). Even in this case the emerging countries have more attitude towards sharing. In Europe the scene is complex, with differences that count from Country to Country. Italian travellers stand out with 82% who declares to be

interested in a larger integration of the sharing economy in the corporate travel policies.

“The use of services of sharing economy is certainly one of the most interesting current day tendencies in the sector of business travel”, says Diane Laschet, CEO of AirPlus Italia. “The positions of travel manager and travellers are obviously destined to come close to each other: if this does not happen there is the risk that travellers independently make their bookings making the management of business travel more complex and less under control. From their side, various operators of the sharing economy are trying to adjust to the needs of companies by creating online portals specifically dedicated to the business clientele. This can lead many travel managers to insert the possibility of using services of sharing economy within their corporate policy.” 


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