Looking back and ahead — the sharing economy goes big
Although we prefer to use our phones to book services, with the sharing economy are going big, new OTAs will emerge.
As we reach 2016, Tnooz is unveiling its customary series of reflections on the year behind us and what the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry might expect looking ahead.
And, as always, we’ve asked friends and family of Tnooz to help us out.
Here is the twelfth part of our 13-section bonanza – the sharing economy goes big.
Erik Blachford, an active private investor, and a venture partner at TCV, based in San Francisco
By the end of 2015, travelers everywhere thought nothing of paying other individuals for a place to sleep, a seat in a car going to the next city on their list, a seat at the table for a home-cooked meal, or a spot in a ski lesson or whitewater rafting trip.
It’s just the way we are programmed to think about things now. Oh, and by the way? We expect to book these things from our phones, in-destination, at the last minute, via real-time availability.
Somewhat strangely, we also expect to use different sites or services to book each of these components.
Perhaps I look at the world through OTA-coloured lenses, but I can’t help asking – where is the OTA of the new sharing/renting economy?
The OTA that offers up non-hotel lodging, ground transportation through individually owned cars, or shared rides, tours and activities offered by individuals or small businesses rather than the big tour operators, micro-restaurants operated by aspiring cooks in their own kitchens (underpinned by a great big shared network of ratings and reviews)?
In other words, where is the Expedia of the sharing economy (with TripAdvisor built-in)?
My hunch is that 2016 is the year we see the emergence of a sharing economy OTA, a company that books your sharing economy segments and handles them with a smart new mobile-optimized PNR.
I would guess the most likely candidates are the companies already booking a lot of non-hotel lodging, but you never know.
It’s early days yet, and the incumbents have to be thinking hard about how to offer up what their travelers so clearly want.
Perhaps the Expedia of the sharing economy will be … Expedia.
That said, I think it’s one of the few areas left in travel that could be a rich vein to mine for a start up, and expect that at least one well-funded new player will make a bid to build a business based on this new class of inventory, even as the big guns think about it as a game to be played down the road.
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