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Now that half of corporate travel policies allow ride-sharing services, at least according to this survey, we have to wonder: What is the holdup with the other half? And will alternative accommodations eventually make similar inroads?

Employers are becoming increasingly comfortable with — or at least tolerant of — sharing economy services for business travelers.

According to results of a new survey from the Global Business Travel Association, 50 percent of corporate travel policies allow ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. That’s a hefty increase from mid-2016, when 44 percent of policies approved.

Over that time period, business travel ridership increased 21 percent, the report says. Nearly 20 percent of those who responded said they expected to use ride-sharing more in the next three months, while 71 percent anticipated using it with the same frequency.

Home-sharing options like Airbnb and HomeAway are less commonly accepted, but still gained ground over the six months between surveys. Thirty percent of policies allow them, compared to 28 percent in June. Still, use of those alternative accommodations was up 20 percent.

“I think what we’re seeing is what we’re calling the consumerization of business travelers,” said Jeanne Liu, vice president of research at GBTA. “It’s what you do in your regular consumer life. If you use ride-sharing and home-sharing, or if there are certain apps you like to use, it’s going to go into how you plan and how you pick your options in business travel as well.”

The findings were part of the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index Global Report, released in partnership with American Express on Tuesday.

The survey of 3,220 business travelers also asked about attitudes toward safety, technology, expense management, social media, fitness, and other topics. It was conducted over most of September and included those who live in Australia, North America, and parts of Europe and Asia.

Of those business travelers who regularly exercise at home, 45 percent said they didn’t work out as much when traveling because they did not have time, were too tired, were out of their routine or had no access to a fitness center.

Nearly half of millennials, 46 percent, said they were likely to work out on every or almost every business trip. Generation X travelers were right behind with 41 percent, followed by Baby Boomers at 38 percent.

Millennials were also on the forefront of less physically active behavior: social media use.

More than half of business travelers — 54 percent — said they use social media at least once a day while they’re traveling for work. Millennials were the leaders, with 67 percent saying they use such sites at least once a day, compared to 56 percent of Generation X travelers and 34 percent of Baby Boomers. All of those numbers were an increase from the June report.

“Once again that’s one of those things,” Liu said. “What they do in their personal life they do at work as well.”


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Tags: airbnb, gbta, sharing economy, uber

Photo credit: A driver for Lyft and Uber drops off a passenger in Los Angeles. A new survey shows that 50 percent of corporate travel policies allow the use of ride-sharing services. Richard Vogel / Associated Press

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