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How the Sharing Economy is Changing Travel Policies

There is no doubt that the sharing economy – particularly the rise in ride sharing and home sharing services – are changing the face of travel. The recent GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ Global Report, in partnership with American Express, finds that beyond consumer travel, many business travelers and corporate travel policies are addressing the emerging sharing economy options. Forty-four percent of business travelers say their companies’ travel policies allow for ride-sharing services and 28 percent can now use home-sharing services.

The research also finds that more than one in five don’t know if their employer’s travel policies allow ride-sharing or home-sharing services (22 percent and 23 percent, respectively). Despite this confusion, 61 percent of travelers who are required to follow a travel policy or guidelines are satisfied with the ease of understanding their company’s travel policies. A similar number of respondents are satisfied with the flexibility in planning trips (60 percent) and changing their itinerary as needed (58 percent) under their companies’ travel policy.

Internationally, some companies are more open to embracing sharing-economy services than others. Seventy-nine percent of business travelers in Mexico and 61 percent in the United States are able to use ride-sharing services compared with 44 percent of respondents overall, while 42 percent of Hong Kong-based business travelers are free to use home-sharing services compared to 28 percent of respondents overall.

There is no question that the sharing economy will continue to alter how business travel is conducted. With the sharing economy rapidly changing the travel landscape, there are a number of considerations that individual business travelers as well as corporate travel departments need to account for when approving use of sharing-economy options. Personal liability, security or broader duty of care concerns top the list. Business travelers and travel buyers must be aware of these changes, their benefits and drawbacks, and consider all scenarios when updating, incorporating, sharing and following a corporate travel policy.

To learn more about global business travel trends and get more information on how business traveler sentiment has changed over the past year and an understanding of differences in traveler behavior by country, please join a complimentary webinar tomorrow, September 21. Registration is available now. To download the full report, please click here.