The so-called “sharing economy” has become somewhat of a buzz phrase in the travel and tourism industry over the past few years.
Sharing economy, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is an economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either free or for a fee, typically by means of the internet. It is also referred to as collaborative consumption.
Two examples of sharing-economy companies are Uber, a mobile app service enabling users to request a ride to their chosen location, and Airbnb, a website on which you can list, find and rent lodging ranging from entire apartments to a room in someone’s house.
The sharing economy undoubtedly has its advantages, especially for leisure travellers, but there are a number of factors to take into account when considering including it in a business-travel programme. These include:
You’re likely to end up with extra paperwork
When booking through a travel management company such as Corporate Traveller, you make one call and the rest is taken care of. Our services cover every aspect of travel costs – from flights and other transport to accommodation, meals and additional costs incurred during, for example, a traveller’s hotel stay.
We’ve got payment arrangements with hotels and other preferred service providers, which means we take care of all the costs and send you one invoice that covers everything.
In a sharing-economy environment you might end up with several invoices and expense claims, which will lead to more paperwork and less time for other important tasks.
You might find it difficult to manage travel expenses
The sharing economy makes it very difficult to budget for and manage expenses on business trips because travellers will often have to pay for these services as and when they make use of them. It may also be difficult to separate out what expenses are incurred on a personal basis by the traveller and what needs to be covered as part of the business trip.
You’ll be missing out on negotiated rates
Corporate Traveller negotiates rates according to the amount of overall business provided to certain hotels, which means that even our clients with small travel budgets benefit from special rates.
Complying with travel policies could be challenging
Most companies have travel policies in place, and making use of sharing-economy services instead of structured, pre-approved airlines, hotels and car rental providers might be a breach of these policies.
The agreed process for approving the travel costs incurred will also be disrupted as the traveller is booking items individually instead of through a central point within the company.
You’re not sure what you’re going to get
At Corporate Traveller, we have all the checks and balances in place. We only use certain rated hotels and transport companies which means you know what facilities you’re going to get.
When booking elsewhere, business travellers might end up in a noisy guest house or a room in someone’s house where they won’t necessarily have the privacy and workspace they need.
You might not be playing it safe enough
When it comes to business travel, companies are responsible for employees’ safety and there are risks associated with using providers that can’t be verified. For example, there are limited regulations around how long an Uber driver’s shift can be and no process for them to submit random breath tests.
You might face data-security risks
When booking through a travel-management company you keep your business’s credit-card details in one place, minimising data-security risks. In the sharing economy, you share your details with several different service providers.
Whatever your needs, Corporate Traveller will provide you with the most suitable travel solution. Feel free to contact your travel expert if you have any questions regarding our travel services or the sharing economy.