Study highlights impact of sharing economy on business travel

Study highlights impact of sharing economy on business travel

The growing impact of the sharing community on business travel is highlighted in a new study.

Of 250 corporate travel managers and buyers surveyed, more than three quarters (79%) have seen an increase in the use of app-based ground transportation over the last three years.

Almost half (48%) have seen an increase in ride-share services and 40% in sharing economy accommodation.

At the same time, 34% have seen a decline in the use of premium black cars, and a 24% drop in traditional car hire use.

Nearly half (49%) report growth in the use of low-cost carriers alongside a 23% increase in network carriers, which suggests modern travellers are increasingly mixing their standard of air travel.

But travel managers remain split on sharing economy services - a quarter provide sharing economy ground transport options, while 30% do not. Just 9% offer sharing accommodation, with 59% saying they have no plans to introduce it.

The findings come from research published by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and American Express Global Business Travel.

Improved productivity was cited as the main objectives for improving the traveller experience by 39% of survey respondents, while a quarter said it was key to being an attractive employer.

Only 14% said revenue generation was their key objective. But there is evidence that corporations often have a mismatch between key performance indicators (KPIs) and objectives.

The majority of travel managers cited savings (90%) as their top KPI, followed by compliance (86%), traveller satisfaction (68%), traveller productivity (30%), traveller wellness (29%), work-life balance (24%), and traveller retention (20%).

Many corporations are beginning to adapt travel programmes to match the profile of modern business travellers.

More than half those surveyed (54%) have tightened their policy on personal safety, while more than a third (36%) are about to, or are considering, policy changes.

The report explores how the priorities of business travellers are evolving.

Nearly half (48%) of travel managers surveyed have seen an increase in work-life balance concerns over the last three years, with a similarly high proportion (42%) seeing an increase in requests by business travellers to combine business and leisure (42%).

Others have seen requests to bring a family member on a business trip (28%), or for time in lieu (23%).

While quality of life continues to be a concern for many business travellers, it is not the biggest priority - almost two thirds (65%) of travel managers reported an increase in inquiries about personal safety over the past three years.

Amex Global Business Travel EMEA global business consulting regional director Philip Haxne said: “Business travellers, and business travel, have evolved – the days of the road warrior are over.

“Today, a managed travel policy and programme can only really be successful if the emotions, desires and habits of the modern business traveller are understood.

“Only by adapting to the modern business traveller can businesses attract and retain top talent, while increasing productivity.

“To make this a reality, corporations should take advantage of today’s powerful technology to enable choice and personalisation in the travel experience.”

Acte executive director Greeley Koch said: “Modern business travellers travel for two reasons: to meet their corporate objectives and to support their life’s objectives.

“For a growing number, the first is meaningless if it doesn’t contribute to the second.

“Traveller centricity is the link connecting work-life balance, increased traveller performance, and accomplished corporate objectives - without the loss of savings.”

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