The happiness of travellers weighs heavily on the minds of travel managers. With sharing economy suppliers setting their sights on corporate travel, the question needs to be asked: Will allowing travellers to use these suppliers boost their satisfaction levels? Here’s a look at the pros and cons.
Pro: Travellers who don’t mind lack of standardization point to a number of benefits of sharing economy accommodation, such as being in a home instead of a hotel, local authenticity and greater choice of locations. Public review systems contribute to sharing economy users’ satisfaction levels. Many owners go the extra mile to ensure guests leave happy and post favourable reviews. And if guests don’t leave happy, they can seek a refund. Airbnb, for example, does not transfer the guest’s money to the host until the stay is completed and all parties are reasonably satisfied.
Con: Does consistency matter? Most employers and many travellers would answer yes. Travellers who book with hotel chains can be confident that facilities and service will meet a certain standard. They can concentrate on work and not on whether their booked accommodation will meet their needs. This is not the case when booking at sharing economy accommodations. Companies like Airbnb don’t vet the quality of their listings; travellers must rely on user feedback, which has no guarantee of accuracy.
Pro: Despite some high-profile cases recently cited in the media, bad experiences are rare with the new generation of ground transportation providers. Users who prefer sharing economy providers cite driver rating systems, easy-to-use apps and swift response times.
Con: While paid-for sharing economy services are great for travellers looking for taxi rides on demand, true peer-to-peer services like carpooling and ride sharing are less suited to ad hoc travel. Companies like Liftshare can organize companywide car-sharing schemes, but car-sharing is less likely to work for spontaneous, short journeys. There are also questions about service delivery, and there are no guarantees about driving quality. One great leveler of service is GPS; navigation systems enable sharing economy drivers to find their way around even if they don’t have a veteran cabbie’s familiarity with city streets.
Want to learn more about the sharing economy’s effect on business travel? Download Advito’s new whitepaper, The Sharing Economy: Does It Have a Place in Your Managed Travel Program?
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