In a recent poll of 243 buyers by the Business Travel Show, 58 per cent of respondents agreed that alternative accommodation and transport providers such as Airbnb and Uber are a good thing. This compares to 37 per cent 12 months ago.
The number of buyers who consider the sharing economy as a threat has subsequently dropped – from 25 per cent to 18 – and just 17 per cent (compared to 38 last year) remain undecided.
This thawing toward the industry was also reflected in the number of buyers who now allow travellers to book sharing economy suppliers independently, though the number of buyers who claim they are in their travel programme appears to have dropped slightly.
A spokesperson from Uber for Business said, “"These results affirm what we're already hearing from the businesses we serve – that integrating services like Uber into their travel programmes is a win-win, for both traveller and travel manager. We're excited to continue to work with these partners so they can harness the full potential of on-demand technologies."
David Chapple, Business Travel Show event director, added: “No one likes change, and the introduction of the sharing economy to business travel has been a big upheaval for some travel managers. Compared to hotel use, for example, the take up of alternative accommodation providers is still small, but it is certainly growing.
“Attitudes are changing and travel managers are finding the idea of using sharing economy providers less threatening. They are also more appreciative that travellers enjoy the flexibility and convenience they provide. Some travel managers are still concerned about potential duty of care issues, and it’s sensible of them to put travellers first. But, in a few years’ time, I’m sure we won’t even be having this conversation and Airbnb will be considered just another accommodation option, much like serviced apartments are today.”
Airbnb and Uber are both exhibiting at Business Travel Show in 2018 and buyers can find out more about next generation suppliers in the Business Travel Show conference programme’s session ‘Silicon Valley behemoths – What’s the best way to work with the likes of Uber and Airbnb?’