sharing-economy-growthMore 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. For full results – see chart below.

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.”

 Do you include ‘interrupters’ in your travel policy? 2017% 2016%
Yes 28 8
No 40 48
No but travellers can book them independently 17 19
No but we plan to in the next three years 11 12
No and we don’t plan to 4 13
     
Have you used the following suppliers more or less in the last 12 months? More Less
Airbnb 17 6
Uber 56 4
Car pool services 17 7
     
Do your travellers use ‘interrupters’ when booking independently? 2017 % 2016 %
Yes 48 20
No 27 60
Don’t know 25 20
     
Do ‘interrupters’ offer a benefit or threat to your travel programme? 2017 % 2016 %
Benefit 37 26
Threat 25 26
Undecided 38 48
     
Please explain your answer. 2017 %  
It affects our traveller tracking and duty of care policy. 34  
They are cost effective. 29  
It gives us greater choice. 21  
Uber, yes. Airbnb, no. 6  
It is not part of our policy. 6  
They don’t have insurance. 2  
It is not in our culture to use them. 2  

178 travel buyers took part in the seventh Business Travel Show annual survey in November 2016. 61 per cent of respondents worked in the UK, 37 per cent in continental Europe.

Respondents’ travel budget:       %

Less than £150k/€185k                   18

£151k-£500k/€186k-€625k              10

£501k-£1m/€626k-€1.3m                 6

£1m-£3m/€1.3m-€3.75m                  13

£3m-£10m/€3.75m-€12.5m              15

£10m+/€12.5m+                               38

Number of travellers responsible for:      %

Fewer than 50                                  21

51-100                                              10

101-500                                            6

501-1000                                          13

1000+                                               15

N.A.                                                  38

The Business Travel Show, held annually in London for 23 years, is Europe’s largest specialised exhibition and conference bringing together 7,730 European travel professionals. This long established and reputable event provides business travel buyers and managers with the suppliers, knowledge and contacts to help create and develop successful travel programmes. Online visitor registration is now open for the Business Travel Show at http://www.businesstravelshow.com/visit/register