Skift Take

Many companies are realizing that they cannot ignore the habits of their business travelers, but approval of the sharing economy is far from universal.

As more business travelers turn to ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, their employers appear to be slowly adapting.

According to a new survey from the Global Business Travel Association, 44 percent of respondents from around the world said their company had a policy that allowed travelers to use ride sharing.

Businesses were less accommodating when it came to lodging, according to the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index Global Report. Just 28 percent of those who responded said their travel policy allowed them to use home-sharing options such as Airbnb.

And many travelers — more than 20 percent, according to the survey — were still not sure what their employers allowed when it comes to the sharing economy.

“The adoption curve continues to grow, but you still have a lot of companies that are on the fence about what to do here,” said Michael McCormick, GBTA executive director and chief operating officer.

He said employers have legitimate concerns about regulations, licenses, and liability, but companies also like the idea of potential cost savings and new travel solutions.

“The allure is there, but they’re still struggling with how to do it,” he said.

Another finding showed that workers are being given more flexibility when they travel. Forty-four percent said they are required to follow a company travel policy, compared to 52 percent a year earlier.

McCormick said he believes that shift represents a willingness of some companies to give travelers more power over decision-making on the road.

“I’m reading this as companies are allowed to be less prescriptive about how they’re implementing their policy and more focused on outcomes — how travelers are reaching their objectives and using the dollars that are spent,” McCormick said.

The report, which was done with American Express, is based on an online survey of 3,500 business travelers in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

In addition to the questions about travel policy, the survey also polled travelers about using social media on the road, working while flying, use of mobile devices, general satisfaction with business travel, and factors that hurt productivity.

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Tags: business travel, gbta, sharing economy

Photo credit: A user and an Uber driver in a promotional image. Uber

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