2016 sees sharp rise in buyers using sharing economy suppliers

Business Travel Show, Olympia London, 22-23 February 2017

More than a quarter (28 per cent) of travel managers now include sharing economy providers (aka interrupters) in their travel policy, compared to 8 per cent last year - a rise of 250%. 56 per cent have used Uber more in the last 12 months and 17 per cent have increased bookings through Airbnb over the same period. These are just some of the results of a Business Travel Show poll of 178 European travel managers investigating the growth of the sharing economy within corporate travel.

Nearly half of buyers - 48 per cent – believe their travellers use ‘interrupters’ when booking independently, more than double last year, which was 20 per cent. 37 per cent believe they offer a benefit to their travel programme, compared to 27 per cent previously. It would appear the greatest drivers behind the take up are value for money and choice. One quarter of buyers still maintain the sharing economy is a threat thanks to the potential impact on traveller tracking and security.  

Nikki Rogan, Global Travel Manager, Symantec, UK is a senior buyer on the Business Travel Show advisory board. She commented: “Business travellers who book directly are increasingly using alternative providers. As a result, buyers are now taking note and starting to include them more in policy and programmes – it’s just one part of the move towards listening to our travellers and offering them a more personalised offering.” 

Sam Cande, group commercial director, Business Travel Show, commented: “What a difference a year makes. This time last year, buyers were curious but very cautious about the sharing economy and many visited the Business Travel Show to find out more before even considering including them in their programme. This year, they have a much better understanding of what ‘interrupters’ can offer their travellers and organisations and – as proved by these stats – are more open-minded about how sharing economy suppliers can be incorporated into their travel programmes alongside more traditional suppliers.”  

Airbnb and Uber are exhibiting at the Business Travel Show in 2017 and buyers can also find out more about next generation suppliers in the Business Travel Show conference programme’s session ‘Access economy or excess economy? Figuring out the best way to manage new-gen suppliers and distributors.’  

Andrew Ratcliffe, Sales Manager, Airbnb UK & Ireland: "Travel Managers are increasingly engaging with Airbnb to learn about the business tools we offer and the benefits their travellers enjoy with Airbnb for business. The show is a great opportunity to engage with buyers and connect again with our clients.”

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