Risk-taking innovation in the corporate travel space is hard to find. Sharing economy services with robust reporting and safety tools, however, will make change inevitable.
Compared to other, more nimble sectors of the travel industry, corporate travel is deeply entrenched and slow-moving when it comes to game-changing innovation.
While business travelers are avid users of Uber and Airbnb when they travel for leisure, an extreme majority of corporate travel policies have yet to allow sharing economy services, despite low costs and streamlined reporting.
Here’s what some top executives in the corporate travel space have said on video about the sharing economy, the slowly changing corporate travel ecosystem and the future of serving corporate clients.
Stronger Partnerships Are Inevitable
As sharing economy services become more mainstream and mature, corporate travel managers will find ways to integrate them into travel policies.
“Would I go out and buy a black car limousine service in New York City right now? Probably not,” said Greg O’Hara, American Express Global Business Travel’s chairman of the board at Phocuswright earlier this year. “Because we’re prepared to cede that market to Uber… they will probably be in policy, because we don’t have duty of care issues with Uber.”
Bringing Leisure into Corporate
Most business travelers are extremely familiar with online booking tools from their personal travels. More robust personal booking tools will help business travelers have more control over their experience while following corporate policy.
“The challenge of that is getting the travelers engaged in the program and making sure they’re utilizing the corporate rates and not going rogue on booking travel on their own,” said John Snyder, president and CEO of BCD Travel, told CNN Business Traveler host Richard Quest. “Part of the blame we get is that it’s a lot harder to book business travel than it is for me to book my leisure travel. We’re bringing those leisure tools into the corporate environment, and making it easier for our corporate customers when they’re booking or on the road.”
Don’t Expect Big Changes in Distribution… Yet
Open booking remains a bugbear for travel management companies. But there are some positive signs of companies looking to experiment.
“We’re interested in trying open booking,” said Douglas Anderson, president and CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel. “We need to make it easier and more convenient for travelers to find the hotel content they’re looking for.”
Airbnb Is Good for the Serviced Apartment Sector
One would think that room sharing services are a major threat to the service apartment industry. But executives say Airbnb has popularized the idea of staying somewhere else besides a hotel, leading more business travelers to consider serviced apartments. “Airbnb has done us all a great favor,” said Sean Worker, CEO of BridgeStreet Global Hospitality.
Subscribe to Skift Pro
Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)Subscribe Now
Photo Credit: BCD Travel CEO John Snyder discussing corporate travel management on CNN Business Traveler. CNN
Co-Working Giants Turn to Franchising Model in Era of Remote Work
WeWork and IWG will vie for an “asset light” future to recover after the pandemic. And with that, branding becomes even more important in the world of work.
Matthew Parsons, Skift | 1 month ago
Amex GBT Now Deviates Widely From Core Travel Focus
Putting the “American Express” back into American Express Global Business Travel, its new Neo1 expense tool reminds us the world’s biggest corporate travel agency is half-owned by a credit card company.
Matthew Parsons, Skift | 2 months ago
Hertz Puts Bankruptcy Behind It With Transformational Plans
Hertz's new ownership has grand plans to remake the car rental firm. Over the next few years, you'll find out if that really happened depending on your experience at an airport car rental counter near you.
Dennis Schaal, Skift | 3 months ago