It’s a ‘shared’ economy when it comes to travel, but while companies are adopting ride sharing, room sharing is yet to go mainstream in business travel policies

Corporate travel policies are adapting to accommodate less traditional transportation and accommodation services. New research shows that services provided by the sharing economy have increased adoption rates for shared transportation during business trips, But the study from a global leader in expense and invoice management solutions, Chrome River, clearly highlights that the adoption rate for shared accommodation hasn’t reached the same levels.


Summary:

  • Corporate travel policies are adapting to accommodate less traditional transportation and accommodation services, a new survey shows;
  • But, while 54% of respondents said employee use of ride sharing services is addressed in their travel expense policy, just 19% have formally adopted shared accommodation;
  • The findings are based on an online survey of US travel and finance professionals by Chrome River, a global leader in expense and invoice management solutions.

In an online survey of 85 travel and finance professionals from medium to large oganisations in the United States of America (USA), 54% of survey respondents said that employee use of ride sharing services (e.g. Uber, Lyft) is addressed in their travel expense policy. In comparison, only 19% of organisations have formally adopted shared accommodation (e.g. Airbnb) services into their expense policies, with 49% saying they have no plans to do so.

In both cases, the respondents say, however, the absence of a formal policy doesn’t mean that employees are prohibited from using these services. Ride-sharing is universally allowed, and only 3% explicitly bar their employees from staying in Airbnb-style accommodations.

Although organisations are become more accustomed to their employees adopting sharing economy services while on business travel, few of them actively encourage their employees to use them over traditional options.

The findings show 72% of respondents have no preference over what form of ground transportation their team members use, and only 15% encourage ride-sharing sharing as their preferred or mandated option. In addition, just 16% of respondents had a preferred ride-sharing partner, with Uber narrowly edging out Lyft.

The reasons businesses give for using ride sharing include everything from cost savings (33%) to ease of use (22%), greater choice and flexibility (21%), employee preference (20%), and even being perceived as a forward-looking company according to 4% of the respondents.

With regard accommodation, 44% of respondents have no preference over their travellers’ choice, while 19% mandate the use of hotels, with a third preferring, but not mandating them. No respondents say that they prefer or mandate Airbnb-type accommodations.

“Organisations want to see the full travel picture—not just the data from their booking tool. By integrating sharing-economy services into their formal travel policy, they achieve a new level of visibility,” says Alan Rich, co-founder and CEO of Chrome River.

“In addition, by evolving their travel and expense policies to offer more choices and equipping travellers with intuitive, mobile tools for travel planning and expense submission, companies can improve the total travel experience for their teams,” he adds.

One area of the sharing economy that organisations have not yet embraced are electric scooter services, (e.g.  Bird and Lime) – with only 12% of respondents saying that their use is allowed while on business travel.