Sharing economy hits the mark with business travellers
The landscape of today’s sharing economy is quickly expanding across a diverse range of services.
And while pioneers such as Uber continue to capture headlines and consumer market share, data shows how the undisputed ridesharing leader is also gaining traction among business users.
Uber didn’t start out as a B2B provider but now targets corporate customers with its Uber for Business offering. Notably, Uber surpassed taxis in the total number of ground transportation expenses during Q2 2015. So, what other companies are competing for a piece of the corporate travel budget? A review of the latest expense report data analyzed by Certify identifies some rising stars in the B2B sharing economy. Here’s what they’re doing to win the hearts, minds and wallets of modern business travelers.
Airbnb has revolutionized lodging for leisure travel and it’s starting to do the same for. In fact, from Q1 2015 to Q2 2015, Certify data shows a 143% increase in the number of expense transactions for Airbnb. About a year ago, Airbnb introduced Business Travel on Airbnb to make it easier to search and book practical, safe accommodations.
The service comes with free tools for corporations, too, such as invoicing services and account codes to help track usage rates, frequented destinations and more.
Anything that saves time is destined to be a hit with business travelers. So, it’s easy to see how new on-demand parking and valet service Luxe is poised to grow. If you need to park in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle or Boston, Luxe sends a valet to park your car for you. Anyone who has ever been late to client meeting can appreciate the value of easy parking.
And in these congested cities, there’s no telling how much time Luxe can save its users – Luxe transactions doubled from 2014 to 2015, though the total number of transactions is still very small.
Similar to Uber’s business offering, Lyft for Work provides a targeted set of services designed to make ground transportation easier for administrators and business travelers. This includes direct billing and reporting tools that help inform budgeting and planning processes.
There’s evidence this approach is working, too. Since starting its business program in Q4 2014, Certify data shows Lyft experienced an increase in usage of more than 153% through the first two quarters of 2015.
Sprig is the new dining app and delivery service that wants you to eat well in every situation. With average delivery in just 15 minutes, Sprig is a healthy, logical choice for corporate lunches and catered events for a number of segments in the business traveler market.
While its number of transactions are relatively low based in part on the service being available only in Chicago, Palo Alto and San Francisco, Sprig did see a 81% increase in the first two quarters of 2015 compared to a year ago.
Designed for executive and high-income travelers, Wheels Up puts private aviation within reach.
Corporate membership starts with a one-time initiation fee of $29,500, plus $14,500 each year after. This price is still a barrier for most, and we’ve seen just a handful of Wheels Up charges in our data with an average cost of $5,400 per expense. However, corporate membership does come with guaranteed availability and flight bookings within 24 hours, which, for some businesses, is invaluable.
The companies described here show how demand is driving innovation and new technologies for corporate users. As the sharing economy continues to grow and new players rush to be first to market, we can only expect to see further specialization of services, more advanced functionality and increased pricing pressure. All of which is ultimately a good thing for business travelers and consumers alike.
NB: This is a viewpoint from Bob Neveu, chief executive of Certify.
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